An homage to a popular tapas dish in Spain, these salty, smoky, blistered peppers are super simple to make and SO flavorful.
Guys...WE WENT TO SPAIN!
We had the most amazing time on our trip, we saw so much of the country, drank delicious wine and cava, and ate tons of incredible food (seriously - I don't think we ate a single thing we didn't love). And this recipe is just one of many ways that we are trying to recreate all the amazing food we had right here at home!
Almost every tapas bar we went to had this simple, tasty item on the menu: Pimientos Padrón. Padrón peppers are a small Spanish pepper, they almost look like jalapeños but they aren't really spicy. I will warn you - people joke about Padrón peppers being like Russian roulette because most of them are mild, but every once in a while you get an unexpected spicy one. There is even a saying that goes: "Pimientos de Padrón, unos pican y otros no," which means: "Padrón peppers, some are hot and some are not." So that pretty much sums it up. (Well...we didn't have too many sneaky spicy peppers when we ordered this dish in Spain...but you have been warned!)
The preparation for Pimientos Padrón is super simple, but it really lets the ingredients shine. The peppers are just sautéed with oil in a hot pan until blistered, and served sprinkled with coarse salt (and sometimes an extra drizzle of olive oil). Easy peasy, and so tasty. The crunchy salt and rich olive oil are a perfect complement to the aromatic, mild and savory taste of the pepper.
When we tried to recreate this easy dish at home, we ran into a roadblock: we couldn't find Padrón peppers ANYWHERE. I checked Whole Foods, Mariano's, The Fresh Market, Fresh Farms International - they just could not be found. I even considered ordering them online, but it was going to be like $50 once you factored in shipping + the huge quantity you had to buy, which I honestly considered for a fraction of a second...but then I had to smack myself back to reality and abandon my little digital shopping cart. So if you find Padrón peppers - please oh please tell me where!
Luckily, I was able to find Shishito peppers at my local Asian market (Super H Mart, to the rescue!). They come from the same plant species, so they are very similar to Padrón peppers and make a good substitute. Now - I said before that we didn't really get many spicy Padrón peppers when we had them, but we have DEFINITELY had some spicy Shishitos! It really is kind of fun though - pick a pepper and take your chances!
There are a few important tips I will share about making this recipe:
- Turn your fan on, these babies can smoke up your kitchen!
- On that note, I personally like to sauté them in oil with a higher smoke point, like grapeseed oil, and then finish them with a little drizzle of good olive oil after they're done cooking to reduce the smokiness but still get the rich flavor of the olive oil.
- I highly recommend a splatter screen, they're pretty cheap and will greatly reduce both the mess on your stovetop and protect your hands/arms from hot little oil splatters.
- Use GOOD olive oil for the drizzle. I know - I sound like the Barefoot Contessa (I ❤ you Ina!), but since there are so few ingredients in this recipe it's really important that you use the good stuff!
Fun fact we learned in Seville: Spain is the biggest producer of olive oil in the whole world! If you had asked me before, I would have guessed it was Italy, but Spain produces on average about 44% of the world’s supply of olive oil each year - twice as much as Italy and four times as much as Greece. The More You Know!
We took a cooking class in Barcelona during our trip (which omg - I loved so so SO much), so rest assured that this is not the only Spanish recipe I will be sharing...and I think you're going to love them all.
Yummy noises await you!
An homage to a popular tapas dish in Spain, these salty, smoky, blistered peppers are simple to make and so flavorful.
- 2 cups (about 5.5 oz) fresh Shishito peppers
- 1 tsp grapeseed oil
- Good olive oil, to taste (about 2 tsp)
- Flaky sea salt, to taste (about 1 tsp)
Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
Add peppers, covering the pan with the splatter screen, turning occasionally, until they begin to blister on all sides, about 4-5 minutes.
Drizzle lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.
These are perfect served as finger food! Just eat the peppers - seeds and all - and discard the stems.