Pimientos De Padron

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Introduction: Pimientos De Padron

About: Eric J. Wilhelm is the founder of Instructables. He has a Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. Eric believes in making technology accessible through understanding, and strives to inspire others to lear...

Pimientos de Padrón is a Spanish dish of fried peppers with sea salt.  Most of the peppers are sweet, but occasionally you come across a hot one. 

I spent much of April and May 2009 traveling in Spain and Portugal, and still dream about the food: Jamón ibérico, 5-year-aged Manchego, porco Alentejana (pork and clams)...  When I came across these peppers at the farmers market, I immediately thought of recreating pimientos de Padrón.

Even without true Padrón peppers, you can prepare this dish at home.  Compare the pictures of my peppers with those from a restaurant in Lisbon, Portugal.

Step 1: Get Peppers

These are Friariello Barese peppers from Lagier Ranches at our local farmers market in Oakland, CA.  They aren't the exact variety you'll find in Spain and Portugal, but are an Italian variety that is close enough.  More on these peppers from Vegetables of Interest.

Unlike true Padron peppers, apparently none of these will be hot.  Part of the fun of Pimientos de Padrón is coming across a hot one, but these will still taste great.

Wash and dry the peppers.

Step 2: Heat Oil

Here, I'm heating oil to approximately 350°F (the temperature will drop when you put the peppers in).  I used enough oil to get a depth of about 1 inch.  The peppers float on the surface of the oil, so it doesn't need to be very deep.  Some of the other recipes I consulted suggest sauteing the peppers in a thin layer of oil, but having seen Spanish restaurants prepare this dish, I wanted the peppers in more oil.

I used a mixture of olive oil and canola oil, because I ran out of olive and had plenty of canola.  Though, I prefer to use olive oil.  Steve McCulley of Apollo Olive Oil -- my favorite producer -- suggests that olive oil's polyphenols survive up to 320°F.  Considering the peppers don't absorb much oil and the frying temperature is relatively low, it's probably irrelevant what type of oil you use.

Step 3: Drop the Peppers Into the Oil

The peppers will spit and might even burst, so it's important to cover the oil.  I don't have a nice frying basket, so I dropped them in with a spoon and covered the pot with a splatter screen.  

Step 4: Fry the Peppers

Once they stopped spitting, I removed the splatter screen and stirred the peppers to make sure both sides were getting cooked.  Once they started to look a bit wrinkled and blistered, I took them out.  If possible, grab the stems to avoid deflating any of the peppers.

Step 5: Drain and Dry the Peppers

First, I let the oil drain off the peppers with a kitchen sieve, and then dried them on paper towels.

Step 6: Salt the Peppers

I "rained" coarse sea salt over the peppers.

Step 7: Serve

Serve the peppers.

I was surprised to discover that unlike most fried food they were just as tasty after cooling as they were hot just out of the oil. 

Grab the stems and bite the peppers!

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    33 Discussions

    Hi, I am completing my honors thesis at Texas Christian University on Spanish food. I love your image of the pimientos in the white dish and I was wondering if it would be okay if I used it in my thesis. It would be for purely academic uses and I would love to credit the photo as your, please let me know if this is okay! Thank you!

    If you live in NYC you can buy Japanese shishito peppers for this dish. All the Japanese groceries in the East Village carry them.

    And my friend reports that she found the actual pimientos de padron at the Union Square greenmarket last weekend. Not many spicy ones though.

    I'm Indian and back home we would use similar peppers (I just tried them with jalapenos and they worked too!) for frying. We'd make a long vertical slit and then fill them with 2 tsps of a lemon juice and salt mix and then deep fry them. Drain on paper towels and enjoy!

    1 reply

    If you dare, just try with the Naga Jolokia... I bet it would be a good experience!!

    If you want to have the REAL Padrón peppers now, you have to buy them directly from the farmer... In spain is quite usual that in some villages people sell their own products (vegetables) at home. If not, you can go to a local market, were the vegetables usually are also from the seller's own field. Of course you can find those peppers elsewhere (for people who has been in Spain: El corte ingles, carrefour, Mercadona...), but those industrial peppers are not the same as the "old school" Padron peppers. Usually they are all sweet peppers. When you eat a hot Padrón pepper, it's in comparison half way between a jalapeño and a serrano pepper.

    Hey, nice instructable, I have to agree that these make an excellent snack. Thing is though, I have lived in Madrid for four years now and travelled extensively throughout the peninsula and in a few dozen samplings of pimientos de Padrón I have yet to find a spicy one. This seems to tally also with the perception of the people here who feel that there has been some kind of dilution of the strain, perhaps through changes in farming practice. I'm talking north, south, west and east of the country here, don't know about Portugal...anybody care to share their experience?

    4 replies

    It's very usual to found a spicy pepper when you are eating this peppers. If you don't find any spicy pepper, you're lucky, because I'm spanish and I can prove that I have found a lot of this peppers in my live :P

    It's not lucky, I love spicy food. I order pimientos de Padrón only because I hold out hope of finding a spicy one (well, they're quite nice anyway).

    As I said though, I'm told by people here that this is something that has changed, really very recently in maybe the last five or ten years. Of course my demographic pool is relatively small but includes many people in the bar trade ;) and it does appear to be a genuine phenomenon. Why, I have no idea.

    Oh! sorry.... poor boy. Welll, this spicy peppers are not very different of jalapeños. But you're ok, in the last years there was a less percent of spicy peppers, maybe only a 25 %.

    Yeah!! In Spain It's said: "Pimientos del Padrón, unos pican y otros no"
    That means that you can have an ugly surprise when you pick a hot peppers.
    We were eating at a restaurant whe my sister was 5 years old. She picked a hot pepper, and she hasn't eaten more Padrón peppers XD.
    You can cook this recipe with other tipe of peppers, but it won't be pimientos del Padrón, it will be simply fried peppers.

    These are awesome - especially with a squeeze of lime. I went through a huge pile of jalapenos done this way, once...

    Whoa, these peppers were absolutely my favorite dish when I traveled in Spain & Portugal in Sept./Oct. 2004. I fell in love with the taste, and I was also trying to avoid non-fish/seafood meat without being obnoxious or disrespectful--not the easiest when ham seemed to be everywhere, even in the seemingly innocent "ensalada mixta." The seafood was unbelievably delicious but generally beyond my debt-fueled student budget, so when you put it all together, I got a LOT of teasing about my obsession with pimientos de Padron. If only I had known I could've (if only facetiously) blamed it on my genes! :D

    (A note to vegetarians--be careful relying on accounts equating "ensalada mixta" with various salads of mixed greens and vegetables. See, e.g., spanishfood.about.com/b/2007/05/07/ensalada-mixta.htm.)

    (A more general note: I am aware of the fraught history of ham and Spanish cuisine. See generally Toby Green, Inquisition: The Reign of Fear 225-26 (2007) (describing spread of Inquisition-inspired practices of adding ham to dishes and displaying ham in homes and businesses) . I wish it could go without saying that I neither endorse these historical practices nor mean to imply that current culture is necessarily "tainted." But enough caveating! :D  )

    These are the exact peppers my local Japanese restaurant uses to make the same exact dish - called fried peppers, anyway they are so good. I agree that they are delicious even when cool. I have never seen that pepper in our grocery stores (I have looked) so I thought it was Japanese.

    5 replies

    Excellent. I only know because a vendor at my local farmers market sells 50 to a 100 different varieties of peppers, depending on the season, and the shishito stands out because the use of chili peppers is somewhat unusual in Japanese cooking so having a "Japanese" variety is interesting.

    pimientos de padron are small peppers originating from one small town (padron) in Galicia, Spain.

    I know that there are shops in spain that sell them (such as El Corte Ingles), but i'm not sure if you'd be able to get them online. I'll do some research and get back to you.

     Thank you, I will see if the Japanese restaurant where I get the fried peppers has any fresh ones and is willing to part with some seeds.