Don’t you love pleasant surprises? Like that time during the Christmas season that your husband came home with a whole leg of ham? Or when your mom-in-law gifted you with that sweet necklace that was just your style? Or when you found out that a fabulous boulangerie was going to open beside the grocery you regularly visit? Or when you realized you had one year off from thinking about “big school”?
Or the time you found these peppers in your little neighborhood market?
It was a pleasant Saturday morning when I spied these familiar small green peppers at the weekend market I like to visit. I reach my hand out tentatively. Could it be? Those Padrón peppers I so loved from Spain? The cardboard sign certainly said so. I asked the lady in the stall and she confirmed that they indeed were and that they were grown in Tagaytay. Tagaytay! I could have my pimientos de Padrón and eat local at the same time? It didn’t take much more to pile some into my market bag.
Pimientos de Padrón are grown in the Galician region in Spain. They are also the only green peppers (barring green peppers used for their heat…like jalapeños and our sili pang-sigang) I will eat. They are mild and sweet and deliciously addicting. What is most exciting about them though, and perhaps what makes them most alluring, is that a small percentage of them are not mild at all. So, say, for every 10 sweet peppers, you may (or may not!) get one or two that are scorching. Fun right? I think so!
Traditionally they are fried in hot oil until bronzed in places with skin blistered, then sprinkled with sea salt. That’s it. And really, this is all it needs. You eat the whole pepper, seeds and all, and leave the stem. Have them with a nice glass of white wine, or a really really cold beer, and you won’t want for anything else.
Or, if you want to start your day exceptionally well, you can have them like this for breakfast.
Pimiento de Padrón and Pimenton Egg on Toast
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 pimientos de Padrón (padrón peppers)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 Pimenton de la Vera
- 1 slice of toast
- Sea salt
– Heat a skillet to high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil to the pan. When this is hot add the peppers, making sure they are in one layer. Be careful as they may spit. Don’t fret, nothing a well-brandished splatter guard and caution can’t fix.
– Fry the peppers in the oil until they are brown and blistered in most places. Remove from the pan and immediately sprinkle with sea salt while hot.
– While the peppers are frying, or after in the same pan, cook your egg. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and, when the oil is hot, add the egg. When the egg starts to set, sprinkle the pimenton, on the yolk, whites, and surrounding oil. Swirl the pan around so the orange oil gets on the egg. Sprinkle the yolk with salt and cook to your desired doneness. I like mine runny…and when you’ve taste a padrón pepper dunked in pimenton-laced runny yolk so will you.
– Toast your bread and assemble all your ingredients on a plate, any which way you want.
There is no right or wrong way to assemble and eat this. Pile the peppers and the egg on the toast and dive in messily or arrange each component separately and eat daintily with a fork and knife. It’s breakfast; there are no wrong answers! What you should try to stick to though is to eat this warm, as soon as it is ready, to get it at its best.
I’ve made Pimenton fried egg before and it remains one of my favorite ways to have fried egg. It’s the perfect type of egg to have with these peppers, but also perfect on its own, sopped up with a good piece of toast. And speaking of toast, this dish is best with a nice hearty piece, the type that comes from a craggy, ornery-looking loaf. This particular one came from the afore-mentioned boulangerie that I was so excited had opened near me. But this is personal preference and please go ahead and use your own favorite.
I am beyond excited that someone has started selling these peppers at my local market, and even more so that someone has begun growing them locally. I am just crossing all my fingers that supply is steady. Intrepid farmers, I support your attempts to grow these peppers, and promise to always buy part of your crop! Now, I just have to keep my fingers likewise crossed that the crafty restaurants don’t swoop in and finish the supply (as I suspect they did this weekend)!
How was your weekend? All good I hope? I had a lovely Saturday with a market jaunt in the morning, brunch with my mother (muesli and white wine for me, grilled tomato & cheese and white wine for her, in case you were wondering), and then an afternoon of fun and outdoor eating with friends. We also managed to sneak in some cookie baking. We are all feeling a bit under the weather today though, so it’s been a prescribed and imposed lazy Sunday for us. Resting up for a busy week ahead!
Wishing us all pleasant surprises at every corner…and the clarity and wisdom to recognize them!
***In other news Cook Out 2 Help Out Part 2, the continuing fundraiser to help rebuild areas stricken by typhoon Yolanda, will be on next weekend, January 24, 25 and 26, 12 noon – 10PM, at the Powerplant Mall. Eat burgers and help out!