Had lunch with my brother and the man a few weeks ago at the new Brindisa in Soho and the man, being an adventurous sort, ordered a plate of padrón peppers as one of the starter nibbles to go with a chilled glass of fino. I was expecting them to be roasted red piquillo but what turned up was a plate of little sweet chilli size green things, flecked with gold from a hot pan and dusted with flakes of salt. And they were amazing.
Horned shaped and about the size of a habanero pepper they are an heirloom pepper of Galicia in Spain and are very relished there as a tapas plate. Intending to go the tapas route for xmas eve supper I sought them out. Brindisa in Exmouth Market had sold out and - worse - were not expecting any till the New Year. I rushed back to the office and called Brindisa at Borough where a nice woman told me she had four packs left. She kindly put one of them aside for me and so I sent the man to collect them that very afternoon.
They were yummy - like a slightly sour sweet pepper, juicy and well matched with the salt. One in every ten peppers will be hot - not sure why - but it makes for a fun kind of culinary roulette. That first time in the restaurant we had nearly finished that shiny pile before I bit into one that was spectacularly hot. Wah! So far we've eaten about 20 of the xmas ones without incident. I'm thinking that means at least three of the last 10 are bound to be scorchers!
If you can find some do try this quick and easy treat - with a lightly chilled fino should you be so lucky.
A dozen or so fresh padrón peppers
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Wash the peppers and dry them on kitchen paper but otherwise leave them whole, stems attached.
In a heavy pan heat the oil over a medium heat - too hot and the flesh of the peppers will scorch. Add the peppers in a single layer and cook for a couple of minutes till very lightly blistered on one side then turn them over and do the other side.
Scoop them out onto a serving plate and sprinkle with salt.