Galicians have a popular saying that describes Padron peppers better than anything else: ‘Os pementos de Padrón, uns pican e outros non’. It means ‘the Padron peppers, some are hot, some are not’.
They are right. In fact, this is the main peculiarity of these very tasty small peppers which grow in the northwestern part of Spain, in the region of Galicia, around the town of Padrón. Although these days the peppers are also grown outside Galicia, the ones from here are still the original and probably the tastiest ones too.
Like most peppers and chillies, the Padron peppers were imported to Spain from America. It is believed that they were first brought by the Franciscan monks from the San Francisco de Herbón convent at some point during the 16th century. Since those days and over the centuries, the Padron peppers have not only become a popular dish for Galicians, but for an increasing number of people all over the continent.
Eating deep-fried Padron peppers is a bit like playing Russian roulette with a super spicy kick rather than bullets. The reason is that small percentage (around 10-20%) of peppers which can’t be identified – despite all the unproven theories – and are very hot in the mouth.
Cooking them can’t be any easier. A quick and healthy starter option with the extra fun component of having to guess which pepper to avoid!
- 500 g Padron peppers
- 500 ml Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt flakes
- Add the olive oil to a saucepan and heat it.
- When the oil is smoky, then add the peppers. Be very careful because the oil will very likely spill quite violently at this point. Get yourself a long wooden spoon to manipulate them. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Take them out of the pan and place them over some kitchen towels to absorb the excess of oil.
- Plate them and season with generous salt flakes before serving them immediately.