The padron pepper has some major character.
The confused capsicum wavers back and fourth in its two flavor extremes. Most taste sweet and mild, but you can bite into some that will set your mouth on fire. It is the 1 in every 10 that turns you into a flame shooting dragon who likes to chug milk. But the other 9 gloriously charred, delightfully bitter-sweet peppers keep you going back for more. Makes eating them rather exciting…don’t you think?
For those of you that steer clear of food that makes your eyes water, there are some tricks on how to avoid the hot ones. Typically the larger peppers tend to be on the hotter side because the young, small peppers haven’t had enough time to develop their capsaicin–the chemical that gives the peppers their heat. Also, the green guys that have thicker skin are normally a sure sign of spiciness. Dare you to try one!
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The small green peppers are native to Spain, but make an appearance in American farmer’s markets for a few weeks a year. The short season lasts through mid-september and the rest of the year you have to mope over to jalapenos.
Peter Piper had the right idea when he was picking peppers. Padron peppers fair well on the nutritional front. They contain lots of vitamins and plenty of protein, calcium and iron. For being so temperamental, they are awfully generous in their health benefits.
Unlike other green chiles, the elusive padron pepper has no seeds and a thick skin so they are an ideal vegetable to eat whole. In Spain they are prepared with nothing else but oil and sea salt, but here are a few more recipes to enjoy this late summer treat.
- Labor day is coming up! Skewer the pimiento de padron and grill them up.
- Tame the hot padron peppers by stuffing them with creamy tetilla cheese.
- Enjoy them in the classic Spanish way with a little something extra in this savory side dish of padron peppers and serrano ham.
- You’ll definitely get hooked on the flavors of the padron with this corn, zucchini and pepper hash.
- Throw those blistered babies onto a pizza. Drool alert on this recipe: balsamic onion and padron pizza.
And what is the padron peppers perfect pairing (holy alliteration): OLIVE OIL. The Spaniards nailed that one.
What would you pair with this mildly mannered yet feisty pepper?
photo credit: Farmanac, a produce app