Blistered Padrón or Shishito Peppers with Chorizo and Smoked Sea Salt

The idea to pair blistered Padrón peppers with chorizo came from Willi's Wine Bar in Santa Rosa. Rob and I stumbled across Willi's about 10 years ago and it has been one of our favorite restaurants ever since. The seasonal menu never disappoints and we always discover great new-to-us wineries on their tasting list. The meal we had at Willi's a few weeks ago was one of the best yet. I've already replicated the macaroni and cheese (yum!) and plan to post that recipe soon.

We were talking with our server, JC, during dinner and discovered that he actually grew the Padrón peppers we were eating. JC and his wife lease a small parcel of land from a larger farm and grow various crops in limited quantities. It makes me love Willi's even more knowing that they support the up and coming local farmers in Sonoma.

Useless Facts

Got Milk?

I bought the larger Padrón peppers from Weiser and learned the hard way that those are often the spiciest. After a few bites, I jumped up from the dinner table, hustled to the fridge, and poured milk straight from the carton into my mouth. There was no time to be classy about it. While chatting with Farmer Alex Weiser yesterday, he suggested I go with smaller peppers since those should be milder. Noted.

Speaking of milk, that's the beverage of choice if you hit the spicy jackpot. Water will do nothing for you, my friends. Peppers contain an oil called capsaicin and as we all know oil has no love for water. Not only is water useless, but it can spread the heat to other parts of your mouth. Yikes. Milk on the other hand contains fat that binds to the capsaicin oil and sweeps it away from your flaming tongue. Acids such as lemonade and orange juice also help break down the capsaicin oil.

Tools

Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker - I use this pan for my bread baking as well and am very happy with it.

Farmers | Artisans

I make an effort to source my food from local California artisans with a special focus on the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Below is a list of the talented folks who contributed to this dish.

Ingredients

  • A few handfuls of shishito or Padrón peppers, washed and thoroughly dried
  • 1 link semi-cured chorizo, sliced Note: I used Chorizo Bilbao.
  • Maldon smoked sea salt

Padrón peppers at Weiser Family Farms - Santa Monica Farmers Market

Recipe Tips

Fast and Loose

The measurements for this recipe are relatively loose. The main thing to note is that the peppers should be seared hot and fast so that they blister before getting too soft. There's quite a bit of carry-over cooking so take the peppers out of the pan when you think they're almost done.

Splatter Guard

Since oil and water aren't friends, I like to make sure the peppers are completely dry before tossing them into the hot pan. Here's my method: Wash the peppers, put about 3 or 4 in a paper towel, and then gently but quickly roll the wrapped peppers between your hands. I find that this gets every drop of water out of the little nooks. You can reuse the paper towel several times so it's not too wasteful.

Grill It

I haven't tried this yet, but if you have a mesh veggie basket for the grill I bet that would be a great way to cook the peppers.

Instructions

  • Heat a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add a splash of olive oil. Note: Quality olive oil has a high smoke point. If your olive oil smokes easily then it probably contains impurities.
  • When the oil is shimmering, sear the chorizo slices on both sides.
  • Transfer the chorizo to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
  • Remove all but 1 tsp of oil and then add a splash of olive oil.
  • Over medium-high to high heat, add the peppers and cook until blistered. Stir the peppers occasionally so that they blister on all sides.
  • When the peppers are about halfway done (roughly 4 minutes in my experience), put the chorizo back in the pan.
  • Plate the chorizo and peppers and then sprinkle generously with Maldon smoked sea salt.

Storage

This dish is intended to be consumed hot out of the pan. That being said, sometimes I blister just the peppers and freeze them for omelets and salsa. I remove the stems, leave the seeds, and freeze the pepper whole.

Article Tags : appetizer, peppers, side, summer
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