The Padrone Zone

by Matt on September 7, 2008

Padron-Opener

Sometime last year (or even this year, I forget) I got the nicest email from a reader. Our emails back and forth revolved around peppers and recipes to which he asked if I had ever tried Padrones. Or, Pimiento de Padron, to be correct. I replied that I hadn’t, heck, I have never even heard of them but boy do I love me some peppers. He then went on to tell me how delicious they were, so small and flavorful, with a mild flavor and super soft texture. He does what I’ve come to learn many tapas lovers do (these babies are from Spain, after all): quickly fry in olive oil, remove, sprinkle with salt and enjoy.

Devour, rather.

Anyway, my new friend and pen pal Gary said that he grows them and when he’s got a few on the plant he’d send some to me. I was bowled over by the generosity and have learned never to say so to 1) a new taste and 2) anything anyone grows. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about gardeners, farmers and recreational greenthumbs it’s that they are some of the nicest, friendliest and most giving people ever. Besides, I couldn’t really imagine a stingy selfish grumpasarus taking time to tend and grow anything other than a bad attitude.

Gary kept me updated on the little plants — when they started to grow, when peppers appeared, when the little green things would be ready, everything. And then I came home from work on Friday and found a box on my doorstep. I knew exactly what they were and wasted no time in getting myself into the Padrone Zone.

Padron-Cook-&-Eat

A handwritten note said to heat some oil, fry the soft, supple gems for 2 minutes or so, letting them turn color, burn, even split right open. And so I did. And when that was done I sprinkled them with sea salt and literally inhaled one of the most beautiful, delicious new flavors I have never experienced. I gave one to Adam — ONE — and not because I was being stingy but because I simply ate them all, right then, right there. He said it was the best, softest part of the mildest of anaheims or hatches with a subtle green flavor and I tend to agree. It was so completely delicious and wonderful and I have Gary to thank.

So Gary, THANK YOU! Luckily I saved a handful for today so that I could photograph them. They went down even faster than Batch Numero Uno.

I may try my hand at growing some or quickly ask around to see where I can find them. I’ve never once seen them at my farmers’ market but a quick google search says they can be found. I’m a man on a mission now for sure.

All thanks to Gary!

Coming up: More peppers. I’m hatchin’ it up.