Pimientos de Padrón are small green peppers that are typically sauteed in olive oil until their skin becomes blistered and browned, topped with sea salt and served as an appetizer or tapa at restaurants throughout Barcelona. They originated from Padrón in the northwest part of Spain in Galicia.
When we lived in Barcelona, we ordered this dish as a tapa when out to eat or as an appetizer to a larger meal. I have never been able to find these peppers at grocery stores in the northeast, so each summer I try my hand at growing them in our garden. This year I was lucky enough to get a handful out of our garden, enough for a small dish.
What makes this dish so fun is that it becomes a game of spicy Russian roulette: some of the peppers are spicy and some are not and there is no way of knowing which is which. We always have a blast selecting one each at a time and seeing who gets a spicy one. It’s an appetizer and entertainment all in one.
In theory you could make this with other peppers, such as shishito peppers which are easier to find in the store. They are also delicious prepared this way, but they tend not to be spicy and it eliminates the fun of comparing who gets the spicier peppers.
How to Eat Pimientos de Padrón
This dish is meant to be finger food. To eat the peppers, hold the stem and bite off the entire pepper so that you are left just holding the stem. You can usually eat a whole pepper in one bite.
Pimientos de Padrón: Spanish Peppers
- Pimientos de Padrón
- olive oil
- Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
- Heat a sauté pan to medium or medium low heat. Add olive oil, then the peppers allowing them to brown on one side before turning. Be careful not to get splattered with the hot oil. The peppers are full of water and as the water makes contact with the oil, the oil will sputter and get all over the place. It is a messy dish to make in that sense. This can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on how hot your pan is.
- Once browned or blistered on two or three sides, remove from heat, sprinkle with Maldon sea salt flakes and serve.