I’m not much of a gambler. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever even played roulette. But every June through September, when Padron peppers are in season, I try my luck. The age-old Galician adage (where this chile pepper originated) says it all: “Padron peppers, some are hot and some are not.” You see, Padron peppers are generally a mild, fruity chile pepper but approximately 1 of every 5 has a fiery heat — hence the reason eating them has been coined playing pepper roulette.
If you’re up for some gambling of your own, visit your local farmer’s market (they’re in season until late September) or order them online and then cook them up in the classic Spanish tapas style: charred in olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt. Once you’re hooked (because you will be, I’m sure), let your culinary creativity run wild.
Here are a few ways I use them: grilled whole and used in place of bell peppers in a salad; layered on a baguette with a slather of tapenade, some cured ham, and sheep’s milk cheese (like Manchego) for a vegetarian sandwich; cut into strips and folded into quesadillas; or stuffed with a mild cheese and baked until heated through. But before you do any of that, promise me you’ll try them simply charred so you taste the fabulous flavor of these fruity chile peppers.
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