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Store-grown padróns

When I was up in Seattle during mid-March, my cousin Mary and I wandered into The Spanish Table, a store that, it turns out, has outposts much more local to me—Berkeley and Mill Valley.

But we were in the original, surrounded by pottery and paella pans and food that made me feel like we had walked back in time to the two and a half years when my parents and I lived just outside Madrid.

If you’re going to time travel, flipping back to the land of tapas and bullfights and staying up late and taking a siesta every day is not a bad way to do it.

We browsed, and as I was paying for my purchase, I looked over at the store’s front window. Although we’d been hiking around downtown Seattle in rainy, gray weather, there was enough light that some leggy seedlings tilted toward the glass from a flat of dirt plugs.

“What are you growing?” I asked the man ringing me up.

“Padrón peppers,” he said, naming the small green peppers that are sometimes hot, sometimes not. I like to think of eating them as playing a game of mouth roulette. “We always bring some in, but we like to grow some of them ourselves.”

I haven’t checked with the local outposts of this small chain to see if they grow their own padrón peppers there, but I will have to do so as pepper season approaches. Fried up in olive oil and salt, they’re fantastic with beer, which is helpful for cooling down the capsaicin when you lose the roulette game.

Or, as some might say, when you win.

Just a few more thoughts on the magic (Note: That’s seasonal magic…so you might have to wait a couple months…) that is the padrón pepper:

8 Comments on “Store-grown padróns”

  1. #1 Anita / Married ...with Dinner
    on Apr 8th, 2009 at 7:09 am

    even if you don’t want to grow the yourself (which I have heard is difficult in SF because we don’t get enough heat) you can buy them from Happy Quail Farm at the Ferry Plaza Market. They’re not cheap, but we manage to splurge a few times each summer. Toward the end of the season, they usually have a deal where you get two (little) bags for a lower price.

  2. #2 inadvertentgardener
    on Apr 8th, 2009 at 7:41 am

    Anita, I’ve got to check those out — saw that in a couple of blog posts (including Sam’s). They’re totally worth a splurge.

  3. #3
    on Apr 8th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    I’ve been a fan of The Spanish Table for years, but have never been to one of their stores. I doubt that I would have any self-control at all.

  4. #4 inadvertentgardener
    on Apr 8th, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Lydia, I think you’re right. The only thing that gave me any self-control was the knowledge that I had such little space in my suitcase. Otherwise, I would have come home with a paella pan big enough for me to nap in.

  5. #5
    on Apr 8th, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I only had these peppers once, in Boston with Lydia and I didn’t get any hot ones! (Whew!)

  6. #6 inadvertentgardener
    on Apr 9th, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Kalyn, amazing that you didn’t hit a hot one!

  7. #7 The challenge of the aged padrón – The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Nov 18th, 2009 at 1:52 am

    [...] On Saturday night, I went to Contigo with a friend and learned, sadly, that they were sold out of that night’s padrón pepper menu item. On Sunday, I thought I’d remedied this when I located some red, luscious padróns at Happy Boy Farms’ stand at the Jack London Square Market. I brought them home, posted a photo of my find to Facebook, and planned for a fun evening of sautéing them up and playing padrón roulette. [...]

  8. #8 The challenge of the aged padrón « Oakland Grown
    on Dec 2nd, 2009 at 9:31 am

    [...] a photo of my find to Facebook, and planned for a fun evening of sautéing them up and playing padrón roulette… Continue here.   Leave a [...]

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