Padrón Peppers

We just love discovering new foods. The greatest thing to hit our local farmers markets this summer, or at least that’s new to us, is the Padrón pepper. Steve first tasted them at Bocadillos where they were served pintxos-style, cooked whole in a little olive oil until the skins blistered then lightly salted. He was hooked from the first bite.

Padróns have a unique flavor marked by an unusual meatiness and just a hint of bitter. They (usually) pack no heat in the tiny seed cluster that nestles next to the stem. But every once in a while, you get a hot one that reminds you that you’re eating peppers. The heat dissipates quickly. It’s spicy like cinnamon, not like a hot chili pepper, so there’s no risk that the capsaicin sensitive will be bowled over by these delicious nibbles.

The dark green peppers are picked when bite-sized making them a perfect finger food. And like other salty finger foods, they’re hard to push away from after only a couple of bites. We’ve eaten entire pints in a single sitting. But unlike potato chips or roasted nuts, we just can’t feel guilty about feasting on them.

These Spanish delicacies are, in fact, a New World food that made its way back to Europe a few hundred years ago. Popularized by Jose Andres, and other Spanish chefs, the pepper variety is enjoying its 15 minutes of fame and as such is now readily available throughout the summer at a growing number of farmers markets across the country.

Peter Piper may have picked a peck of pickled peppers, but we sautéed the Padrón peppers with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Which is much easier to say and do.

Even though we are late to this pepper’s fan parade, we want to give a big shout out to them for anyone who will listen. Now go out and find some Padrón peppers and give them a try!

Delicioso!

Padrón Peppers

1 pint Padrón peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 good pinch of course sea salt

Wash peppers under running cold water until well rinsed, drain. Heat olive oil in sauté pan until just shimmering. Add peppers and cook on medium high heat, turning frequently, until skins blister on all sides. Remove from heat, drain on paper towels and plate, sprinkling with the sea salt. Eat warm or at room temperature.

Green Things & Popcorn

Crispy, crunchy Green Things.

If you need a quick, healthy, and delicious snack that will satisfy the pickiest eaters in your household, it’s time to try green things. You’re probably thinking: what are green things? We’re referring to leafy green vegetables, like kale and collard greens, slowly dehydrated in the oven with a little olive oil and salt. These crunchy veggies offer a fun way to eat your greens. If you haven’t had leafy green chips before, this is a must try. The leaves dry out in the oven and become brittle and crunchy instead of chewy and tough. With the addition of a little salt and smoky paprika, the flavors deepen, tasting like the delicate leaves have been slow roasted.

In addition to our oven toasted “chips,” we’ve recently rediscovered an all-time favorite American snack-food: popcorn. In spite of all the kernels that have been popped over the years, it’s one of those snacks that we haven’t embraced, until now. The air popcorn maker we own is a super cheap one that we bought for the purpose of popping corn that we then used as packing material (just another one of our dirty hippie tricks). Cheap works for popcorn poppers, and if you prefer to pop in oil, a pan and a little oil on the stovetop works well and costs pennies.

In the last couple of months, we have pulled out the air popper and started trying out a variety of flavors and spices on our popcorn. A little olive oil, salt and pepper is delicious. Add a bit of freshly grated Parmigiano cheese, even better. We’ve even had the occasional sweet tooth that requires something a bit more decadent than salt. Jason recently made a nice maple crunch popcorn that we couldn’t stop eating. Our favorite flavor, so far, comes as a result of an experiment with the green things described above, crumbled and added to a bowl of fresh popcorn. The result is a wonderful, complexly flavored crunchy snack that is packed with nutrients.

Green Thing Chips

Bunch of Kale, Collard, Chard (or any other leafy vegetable)
Drizzle of olive oil
Sprinkle of smoked paprika
Salt

Preheat oven to 250 – 275 degrees. Wash the greens and remove the stem. Spin the greens dry in a lettuce spinner. Lay the greens out on a baking sheet, or two, trying not to overlap the greens. Drizzle a little olive oil over the greens and toss with your hands. Sprinkle salt and paprika and bake for about 12-15 minutes, checking and rotating the pans every 5 minutes. Pull out of the oven and eat as chips or toss the chips in a bowl with air popped popcorn.