Sunday, September 07, 2008

Pimientos de padron

Another weekend, another wash-out. We've had a string of family celebrations this 'summer'. All of them planned around enjoying the great outdoors, all of them dampened rather by rain. Fortunately, our spirits have not been dampened and we therefore soldier on. A naming ceremony for my nephew 'in the garden' next weekend and a sister's birthday party al fresco the next. Will we ever learn?

My favourite 'washout' though occurred this weekend. My nephew decided he wanted to celebrate his birthday at
Wilderness Wood in Sussex. They specialise in children's parties here - you walk into the woods, build a huge den using branches and leaves from the forest floor and then build a campfire. Out come the sausages and marshmallows and everyone gets involved in cooking them over the smouldering fire. At least this is what is supposed to happen in theory...

The heavens opened at the crucial moment and sausages cooked over a rain-drenched fire. My favourite photo of this damp and muddy affair is this one...

I can't help thinking that the sausages look rather rude. I'm sorry. My mind is obviously impure and unclean. I have nothing to add in my defence.

Moving swiftly on, I'm reporting in briefly tonight to tell you that how delighted I was to get my hands on my favourite 'padron' peppers whilst in the butcher last week. These small green peppers are often found on Spanish tapas menus and whenever I see them, I always order them. The fun of these little peppers lies in the
Russian roulette style gamble you take when plucking one from the serving platter...

You see, most pimientos are lovely and sweet and tasty. Every now and then, however, you'll pluck a hot one from the plate and your eyes will water! The good ones are absolutely delicious and totally moreish, the hot ones aren't too violently hot, but certainly enough to make you a little wary.

Traditionally, the peppers are fried in olive oil and then sprinkled with crunchy salt. Plenty of it. For some reason best known to myself, I decided to roast mine in the oven on a high heat instead. They worked pretty well, but I guess the might have been a little crisper on the outside had I reached for the frying pan.

Either way, to eat them, you hold them by the stalk and bite the pepper off in one go.

Pimientos de padron

Padron peppers- allow approx. 5 per person as tapas/nibble
Olive oil
Crunchy sea salt, such as Maldon

1. Place peppers on a baking sheet and drizzle with generous amount of olive oil. Sprinkle with some of the salt and shake the baking tray to coat evenly.

2. Roast in a hot oven (210C) for 10-15 minutes until the pepper skins start to blister and brown. Blot on kitchen paper and sprinkle with a little more salt - don't hold back.

3. Hand round whilst still hot along with a dish to collect the stalks.


Jules said...

I love the sound of the Wilderness Wood parties.

Never tried pimentos, they sound like something I would like.

Sandie said...

I'd play pimiento roulette...sounds like my kind of fun!

Sam said...

I bet those peppers are fun to eat!

Anonymous said...

Oooh I love these, Fred and I are planning a tapas night soon so I'll be on the lookout for them.

I agree about the sausages :)

Antonia said...

Jules - the parties are fun. This is the third year in a row my nephew has asked for a party there - the boys, in particular, love building the camp etc..

Sandie - is indeed fun, as is watching everyone's face as they bite into theirs to see if they got a hot one or not!

Sam -yes, great fun. I think it is about one in five that are hot.

Ginger - I found them in Moen, The Pavement, Clapham Common. Haven't seen them anywhere else before. Possibly, Spanish delis might be worth a try.

Gloria (Canela) said...

Really love your blogs and recipes, Im work too in little events and making food to delivery, nice to meet you,xxGloria

David Hall said...

Great stuff Antonia, lots of cold beers and a plate of these, amazing!


Trekkie said...

I think that I've had these stuffed with cream cheese, breaded and deep fried. They were delish.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

I reckon those hot little peppers are the best 'cure' for a lousy summer! Mmmm... delicious. I also eat them raw. Dead hard, me ;-)

Antonia said...

Gloria - welcome and thank you for passing by!

David - too true, cold beers all round.

Lynn - sounds great, stuffed with cream cheese. I'd love those, I'm sure.

Aforkful - dead hard indeed! Not sure I'd go for the raw version myself (I'm a wimp) but love them like this.