Spain – Pimientos de Padron (Russian roulette peppers)
You have to cook peppers when in Spain. It seems like a national thing here and I didn’t want to miss out on the fun. The issue is, they all look the same, but you never know what you’re going to get. Most of the peppers are mild but once in a while you may get one that’s not. If you get a hot one, well, grin and bear it. Ask for a piece of bread to help you out but don’t drink water, that would just make it worse.
I bought these beautiful peppers to roast as part of a few tapas I was preparing for my husband and I. I grilled them in a pan on top of the stove and then peeled off the paper-thin skin and served them with a sprinkling of coarse Maldon salt. They were delicious and the recipe, if you can call it that, was worth sharing.
Roasted peppers are a common tapas offering here in Spain. I have seen them on every menu and tasted them a couple of times while having tapas out in tapas bars. They are savoury and smoky with a melt in your mouth texture. You eat them whole, flesh, seeds and pulp. I tend to peel the skin off but you don’t have to. You can leave the stem on the plate, but otherwise is a one bite thing.
To cook them heat up a little olive oil in a grill pan over medium high heat. Add the little peppers whole and cook for a few minutes stirring to brown the skin on all sides. The skin will separate and crinkle. When they are nicely brown in spots and the skin is wrinkly and loose remove the peppers from the pan and let rest on a plate, covered until cool enough to handle. Then just pull off the papery skin and voila, you have a grilled peppers Spanish tapas style. I tend to remove the skin but suit yourself, you can serve it with the skin on.
To serve, place in a dish, sprinkle with good salt and serve warm or at room temperature. If you have to refrigerate them bring back to room temperature or heat up slightly before serving.
A couple of handful small sweet peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
Maldon salt, Fleur de sel or coarse sea salt
Wash and dry the peppers.
Heat up olive oil in a skillet large enough to hold them in one layer (or do it in two batches).
Add peppers and grill in the pan, tossing now and then, until they are dark in spots and the skin blisters.
When they are done remove from heat and transfer to a plate. Cover the plate with a paper towel and leave until they are cool enough to handle.
When sufficiently cooled, remove the paper thin skin off the peppers.
Place peppers in a serving dish and sprinkle with a few grains of salt, not too much as you want the flavour of the peppers to come through nice and clean.
Life is like a bowl of peppers, you never know what your’ gonna get