Padron peppers – Spanish roulette

One of the things I love about tapas is that they’re often so easy to prepare. Slice a chorizo, pour over red wine, stick in pan, reduce, eat. Slice some manchego and quince cheese. Eat. Place olives in small bowl. Eat. Put prawns in dish with olive oil, garlic and chillies. Make hot. Eat. Procure a ham. Slice. Eat.

Given that tapas are there primarily as a salty accompaniment to your drink, these simple, clear flavours make a lot of sense. The quality of raw ingredients in preparations like this becomes all-important, and often the best of those raw ingredients are the seasonal ones. Enter the Padron pepper.

These little green jewels are a deliciously sweet, fresh-tasting pepper which comes ready in the summer. They are, for the most part, delightfully mild – but one in every ten or so has a strong chilli kick. There is nothing better than a dish that engages your sense of danger. The Spanish have a saying: Pimiento de Padrón, pequeño pero matón. Translated very approximately, this means: “Padron pepper – teensy-weensy thug”.

To serve two as a nibble with drinks or as a starter, you’ll need:

150-200g Padron peppers (see below for suppliers)
5 tablespoons olive oil
A generous sprinkling of sea salt

Heat the olive oil in a large pan to a medium temperature, and drop the peppers in. Stir the peppers in the oil for about four minutes, until their skins are blistering. Remove the peppers to bowls with a slotted spoon, sprinkle over plenty of salt, and serve piping hot. To eat, hold the peppers by the stem and bite off the whole fruit. Keep a glass of something cold to hand in case you get one of the very spicy ones.

It’s worth getting your hands on some Padron peppers at this time of year, when they are at their very best. I’ve seen them in Waitrose, but if you don’t have a local branch you can also order them online in the UK at Little Green Men, where they have some great chilli products.

10 Replies to “Padron peppers – Spanish roulette”

  1. Thank you Liz! I had these peppers in Spain and loved them but I couldn’t remember what they were called. It’s really good to hear you can get them in England. I’m going straight to Waitrose!


  2. Excellent – hope you enjoy them, Jon! (I was really chuffed when I found a bag in the supermarket – I didn’t know you could get them here either until this weekend!)

  3. I’m so glad you’ve posted where to find these in the UK. heading over to place an order as soon as i finish this comment. you’ve definitely captured the essence of what makes tapas so great — it’s definitely the simplicity and letting the ingredients speak for themselves. great photo too!

  4. Thanks guys! I’m very pleased to find that so many people like these so much. The Little Green Men’s peppers are grown in the UK too, so hurrah for stimulating the local economy and all that stuff.

  5. HI Liz. I had these in Barcelona two years ago but never came across them again. However, last evening, my good friend prepared these for appetizer and I recognized them immediately as my long lost beloved hot peppers. So, I googled and chanced upon your blog. Question. Do you think using a little less oil might render these padrons a smite more “crunchy” to the bite?

  6. Hi Robert

    You need tons of (good) olive oil to cook these in – if yours are lacking bite, it’s probably because they’ve been cooking a little too long. They really need a very brief cooking period – just long enough in the hot oil to get the skins blistered – or they’ll be a bit overdone (but still very tasty!).

  7. Hi. I sell padron peppers. I sell 200grms at £2.00 each. My mobile number is 07796165201.
    Please call me. We can deliver or post them depending on the quantaty.

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