Pimientos de Padrón, also known as Padrón peppers, is a tapa you can’t miss in Galicia. The green Galician peppers usually have a mild taste, but….some can be that surprising hot you will get tears in your eyes. For this reason there is a famous phrase in Galician about the peppers: Os pementos de Padron, ins pican e outras non (Padrón peppers, some are hot, some are not).
The Padrón peppers are green peppers from around 5 centimeters long. They are also relatively thick, compared to chili peppers. Around the 16th century the peppers arrived in Galicia, coming for the Americas. With time and due to the Galician climate the peppers obtained their special taste.
As you could guess by it’s name, the pimientos de Padrón are mainly cultivated in de surroundings of Padrón. Padrón is an historical town, about an half an hour drive from Santiago de Compostela. Nowadays the peppers are also cultivated in other parts of the world, like southern Spain, Morocco, the US and Canada.
Why some are hot, and some are not
What the Galicians say about the Pimientos de Padrón is true: Some are hot, and some are not. Why is this? About 10% of the peppers are hot. It al depends on the amount of sun and water the pepper got when growing, in combination with the temperature.
Now you know most Padrón peppers aren’t hot. How to pick a mild one from the dish? Unfortunately you can’t distinguish from the outside which are hot and not. This is what makes Pimientos de Padrón such a good tapa! It’s really enjoyable to eat with company. It’s like a game that creates tension, and lots of laughter when someone got surprised by a hot pepper (Let’s hope it’s not you!).
Pimientos de Padrón used to harvested outdoors between May and October, depending the Galician weather off course. This is the season the peppers traditionally are available. Nowadays the peppers also grow in large greenhouses and can be available year around.
Preparation of Pimientos de Padrón
Pimientos de Padrón aren’t complicated to prepare. Just like some other traditional Galician dishes the amount of ingredients is limited, creating a pure Galician taste. Pimientos de Padrón can be grilled and baked. What do you need?
- Pimientos de padrón (depending the number of eaters, between 400 grams and 1 kilogram)
- Sea salt
- Olive oil
- Heat the oil in a frying pan. Galicians use olive oil freely, so don’t be modest.
- Put the peppers in the pan when the oil is hot. Let the peppers fry for some minutes and turn them around every now and then. The peppers are ready to be served when the skin starts to blister and the pepper collapses.
- Take the peppers out of the pan and put them on a plate. To finish, sprinkle the peppers generously with sea salt.
You’re ready to serve the Padrón peppers. You eat them by grasping the stalk and eat the pepper at once from top till the stalk. And then just wait and hope you haven’t picked an hot one!
Do you like Pimientos de Padrón and ever experienced an hot one?