"Padrón peppers look like diminutive capsicums (bell peppers) and are sold fried or grilled in snack bars throughout Spain. Although they share the same herbaceous flavours as capsicums, padróns are more intense, thinner-skinned and sweeter. Roughly 10 per cent of padróns are overwhelmingly hot, making them perfect for a game of chilli roulette! The peppers, with their earthy nutty sauce, are a revelation hot or cold. Be careful, though, as they can be very hot despite the cooling sauce. Serve with all meats and robust seafood." ~ Paul Wilson.
30 g (1 oz/ 1/4 cup) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
30 g (1 oz/ 1/4 cup) sunflower seeds
2 Tbs sesame seeds
2 Tbs olive oil
16 padrón peppers
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of smoked paprika
200 ml (7 fl oz) Sesame pipian (recipe in book on page 29, or see tip below)*
1 small handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
Lime wedges to serve
Fried Garlic Chips:
6 garlic cloves
Vegetable oil for frying
*Tip: if sesame pipian seems like a daunting sauce to make, a quick alternative is a blend of tahini and yoghurt with garlic, coriander (cilantro) leaves, lime juice, hot sauce and seasoning to taste.
Combine the pepitas and sunflower and sesame seeds in a small dry frying pan and cook over medium–low heat for 3–4 minutes, until lightly toasted. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Fried Garlic Chips:
Peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves and place in a frying pan. Cover with vegetable oil and gently heat over medium–low heat until the oil is hot and begins to bubble around the garlic. Fry, turning frequently, for 30 seconds, or until golden. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on paper towel.
To cook the padrón peppers, preheat a large frying pan over high heat until very hot. Pour in the olive oil, add the peppers and stir-fry for 1 minute. Season with salt and smoked paprika and stir-fry for a further minute, until they begin to collapse and slightly char. Add the sesame pipian and heat until simmering, tossing to coat. Add a dash of water to thin down the sauce to a coating consistency.
Transfer the sauce-coated peppers to a serving dish and sprinkle with the toasted seed mixture, mint and fried garlic chips. Serve with lime wedges and toothpicks.
Credits: This is an edited extract from Taqueria by Paul Wilson published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $AU40 and is available in stores nationally.
Photo Credits: Photographer: © Chris Middleton.