Blistered Padron peppers are a classic Spanish tapas that were always high up my list to order in Spain. But they're also incredibly easy to make at home, taking just a couple minutes!
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You might have noticed that I have a soft spot for Spanish food. I very quickly grew to love a whole range of dishes in Spain when I lived there on two separate occasions. There are so many wonderful dishes, and many of them are easy to make at home.
One thing, though, is Spanish cuisine is not exactly known for using green vegetables. You'll find plenty of potatoes and peppers, maybe the odd eggplant, but not a whole lot of green. At most, it'll be a garnish or super-simple side salad.
These may not be green in the leafy sense, but these Padron peppers (pimientos de Padrón) are definitely one to try. I loved getting them when we were out and making them at home too.
What are Padron peppers?
Pimientos de Padrón are a regional pepper grown in the Galicia region in the North West of Spain. Some of the first Spanish to go to Latin America were from Galicia, and some came back with produce from the new lands. Tomatoes, now so core to Mediterranean cooking, were in that early group of things brought back to Europe, as best we know.
Peppers were also in there, and apparently over time the heat was largely bred out of the variety that we now know as Padron peppers. Even today, pimientos de Padrón are grown in the same area around the town of Padrón, hence the name.
Are Padron peppers hot?
Sometimes. I seem to remember once being told that one in ten were hot, but the pack we had recently had much higher odds. So be prepared for a little heat, as you might get some, but we're not talking Scotch bonnet hot.
Are Padron peppers the same as shishito?
No, technically they are different, although they look very similar and taste similar too. This article gives a bit more detail and shows their slight difference in appearance.
Others would argue that Padron are the ones that are a little sweeter, but I imagine it depends on your batch of each. Either way, shishito would be a good substitute here, but do try to hunt down Padron peppers if you can as they're worth trying.
Steps to cook these peppers
These are so incredibly easy to make as all you do is:
- Warm some oil in a skillet/frying pan until it is almost smoking hot.
- Add the peppers in a single layer and cook a couple minutes either side until they become slightly shriveled and brown in patches.
- Sprinkle over a little salt and serve.
You can eat the whole pepper, seeds and all, apart from the stem which is a little tough. But it acts as a useful little handle to hold as you take a bite. And soon you'll be left with just a little stack of stems, they're pretty addictive.
Padron peppers are so easy to cook up at home and make such a great appetizer, whether it's to add to a tapas spread or just because. Whenever you have them, hunt them down soon and enjoy!
Looking for dishes to serve alongside these peppers? Try these!
- Patatas bravas
- Gambas al ajilo (garlic shrimp)
- Spanish tortilla (tortilla Española)
- White wine marinated steak with blue cheese
- Plus learn more about what are tapas and get lots more Spanish recipes.
Blistered Padron peppers (pimientos de Padrón)
- 8 oz Padron peppers 225g
- 1 tbsp virgin olive oil (or a little more, as needed)
- 1 pinch salt ideally flaked sea salt (or a little more, as needed)
- Rinse the peppers then dry well (any water may spit when cooking).
- Put the oil in a small-medium skillet - it should form a very thin layer (if not, add a little more). Warm the oil until it is just starting to be smoking hot.
- Add the peppers in a single layer and cook for a minute or two on each side, turning as they start to blister and brown slightly.
- Serve them hot, sprinkled with a little salt.
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