June 24, 2011

Meet Padrón

Today we are voyaging to Spain. Actually, a small coastal town on the north western tip of the country called Padrón.

This town is famous for two things: first, and most obviously, the medieval poet named “Macias the Lover” (which I know was on the tip of your tongue). And secondly, the Padrón pepper (which, if you haven’t had yet, should be on the tip of your tongue).

Now this is no ordinary pepper, just like Macias is no ordinary poet. Or lover.

This pepper is small, green, and related to all the other capsicum family members (like jalapeno and habanero). But their most intriguing characteristic comes in the anticipation of their spice. Some are hot. Some are not. And you play a little bit of pepper roulette when you eat them.

But even the ones that are spicy are just perfectly so. Nothing that would send you to the ER or even the grocery store to glug up a gallon of milk. The majority of them are sweet and mild. And that’s why these little guys are most often eaten whole.

Just give them a quick saute with some hot oil (until their skin begins to wrinkle and char), toss them with some fried onions and garlic, and serve up an interesting, gorgeous, and exciting low sodium starter that is fun for any guest. Salt eater or not.

I’ve also had these guys served alongside fresh, fried sardines. Which are low in sodium too, especially if you get them straight from the fish counter. And I also like throwing them in with other greens, like this kale, to help brighten a dish in color and in taste.

These peppers make a tasty low sodium tapa and definitely add an entertaining (and interactive) quality to your meal. And they just happen to be in season. So get to your farmers market and look for these Spanish gems.

Good luck.

And chow on.

pei June 24, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Pimientos de Padron are high on my list of very favorite things. They are extremely hard to find on the east coast, but recently on a visit to LA I spotted them a few places. Jealous that you have access to these guys on a regular basis, and even more so that you are going to northern Spain.

sodium girl June 24, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Thanks Pei! And while I wish I was going to Spain, I am just virtually traveling through food. Which is a pretty fun way to explore the world.

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