some are hot and some are not! padrón peppers: the vegetable equivalent of russian roulette!

tapas: padrón peppers
Pimientos de Padrón are tiny bright green peppers from the Galician region of Spain which look like small green peppers or even mild green chillies. And that's part of the thrill, because although they taste like mild and sweet peppers, some of them pack the heat of chillies . . . just not all of them.

It is said that one in 20 padrón peppers is a hot one. In Galicia there is a saying "Os pementos de Padrón, uns pican e outros non," which means "padrón peppers, some are hot and some are not." So try them if you dare!

Personally in 20 years of eating them I have never ever had a hot one. Hmmmn. I don't think it is because I lack sensitivity to chilli heat (heaven forbid!), but I suspect that more likely it is that all the ones I have eaten were grown earlier in the season (in June and July) when they are milder, containing less capsaicin, than the ones grown in August and September.

Padrón peppers are served as part of a classic tapas tentempiés (or snacks or nibbles), which are merely fried with a little olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt. Some might add garlic or a little Spanish Serrano ham. I like mine simply done.

tapas: padrón peppers
The sunshine is glorious at the moment. There are thousands of Brits who are wondering why on earth they had booked holidays in the Mediterranean, when we have it on our own doorstep. It is seriously hot, which is why tempting tapas nibbles are perfect right now. 

This dish is quick and easy to make, delicious to eat. If you are wondering how to eat them, just pick them up by their twisty stems and bite down!

And should you be fretting about how you can lay your hands on some of these little green gems, fret not.All the major UK supermarkets seem to be selling them, I bought mine in Sainsburys. Honest.

Serves: 4
Skill level: Easy

about 150-200g Padrón peppers
3 tbsp olive oil
sea salt

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. When the oil reaches shimmering point, and then add the peppers.
  2. Stir the peppers until they are lightly browned and slightly blistered.
  3. Sprinkle over a little sea salt and enjoy. A glass of crisp white wine wouldn't go amiss either.


belleau kitchen said...

just got back from Mallorca where we feasted ourselves on these more than a few times and you're so right, some manage to get you just when you least expect it... lovely recipe, nice to see on your blog!

o cozinheiro este algarve said...

My favourite tapas-Pimientos de Padrón.I chuck a whole load of salted Marcona almonds into the pan at the end.

o cozinheiro este algarve said...

lovely picture btw

Anonymous said...

We always get a bowlful of these as part of a tapas selection in Spain. It's so good that at last we can buy the things to do a DIY version: Though I agree. The hot ones don't like travelling outside Spain.

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Well, I'm really glad to hear that you've never had a hot one. Neither have I. I was beginning to think it was something personal. Maybe margaret21 is right - the hot ones stay home.

Anonymous said...

I was once given a Padron pepper plant which I grew all summer long. When they were ready I cooked them for my family and told them about the Russian roulette principle.

Would you believe it though, it turned out every single pepper on that plant was probably one of the hottest things we've ever experienced on our lives!

I wonder if it's because I left them to grow for so long?

The reason I came to this site was from googling out of frustration because I've never had a hot one from sainsburys - wonder if they'll refund me?!

Anonymous said...

I've had them many times in Spain but never got a hot one until today, in the UK in a batch from Riverford organic farmers (UK) - apparently this batch were grown in France. I did a trial frying of three of them which looked identical, two were as usual, the third one was like eating chilli pepper - woah! Now I believe it. (I love them whether hot or not anyway) Thanks for the recipe.