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Regular readers of this blog (!) may remember my post in which I reminisced about a meal eaten in Spain a five years ago. I studied the photo that I had of barbequed vegetables and decided that there were some Pimientos de Padrón in there. I’d been perusing Melbourne Gastronome a time before and recognised them. Emily also alerted me to some discussion of them at Where’s the Beef?. For those who haven’t come across these little peppers before, they are known as the ‘russian roulette’ of the vegetable world. Some are hot, and some are not. (Or, as they say in Spain, ‘uns pican e outros non‘. (Well this is what I assume it says; I can’t read Spanish!)) The story goes that one in every ten will blow your head off, while the other nine will be sweet and mild. We found the ratio to be closer to one in four. Not great odds.

I found a website where you can order the peppers from a farm in Queensland called Midyim Eco Resort. I thought they would be a hit at all the Christmas parties, so order them I did.

The peppers are picked in the morning, sent via express post that day and should (theoretically) arrive in Melbourne the next day. Unfortunately there was a postal strike when I ordered mine, and so they took an extra day to make their way down here. No matter.

I tried cooking my peppers on the barbeque and also pan frying them in EVOO. Pan frying and then salting them seemed to give the best results. I also pickled a few as the minimum order was 1 kilogram.

I don’t recommend eating them raw as they seem to be at their hottest in this state. I quite enjoy spicy food and I felt dizzy after eating a raw and hot pepper. (Though this may have also been because it was 38°C when I ate it.)

My theory is that the small peppers were not hot and the big ones were – and I stick by it! However, I’ve also heard it said that this is not the case; that the peppers simply become hotter toward the end of the growing season.

Prognosis: These peppers excite some people greatly and make other people feel very nervous. They’re not for everyone; they are for people who like to live on the edge! I’ve ordered some more for a barbeque that I’m attending next week…

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5 Responses to “Pimientos de Padrón: some are hot and some are not”

  1. Cindy says:

    Nice work! These peppers must have made quite an impression for you to have gone to that trouble. I suspect your last observation is bang on – these get Michael excited and me a little nervous. The first time we tried them at 3,1,2 I landed one of the firestarters just as we were being attended to by a waiter. Time slowed down painfully as I tried to keep my cool, waiting until her back was turned before I lunged for the water. 😀

    • Saskia says:

      Ha! Yes, the hot ones are seriously hot. The ratio in the new batch, which I ordered last week, is even worse. Must be about 3 hot ones to 1 mild. Very funny how often people go back for more even after they’ve been burned though, just in case they get a good one!

  2. Agnes says:

    Oooooh yum! I am a bit of a chilli fiend and I’m definitely intrigued by these….. but not sure if I could eat a whole kilo! I am very, very tempted though.

  3. I live in Portugal and approx. 300 odd kms from a small village called Padrón in the province of A Coruña in Galicia (Spain) where these small peppers get their name. However, the story goes that in the XVIII century a Franciscan friar introduced these pepppers to this village having brought them from Mexico. Today, these peppers are intricately associated with this quiet little village in the north-east of Galicia and they even have an annual festival in August in the neighbouring village of Herbon to commemorate this unusual pepper.
    Over in Spain, they usually prepare them by frying them in Olive oil and salting them afterwards. Personally, I love frying them in olive oil with garlic cloves and later add finer grain coarse sea-salt before serving them on a platter. They’re delicious as a starter or party Hors d’oeuvre.

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