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The challenge of the aged padrón

padronsOn 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.

I remember thinking, at the market, that I recalled padrón always being green, not red, but no matter. The farmer put the name on the sign, people. IT HAD TO BE TRUE AND THE SAME.

Of course, leave it to my food blogger friends to call me out on my folly. “The first time we made them, we couldn’t figure out why every single one was so hot,” said Kristina of Tennessee Locavore, who, with her husband, grew some padróns at home this year. The red kind. And they didn’t nip them in the bud. “Then we realized we were morons and had let them get too big if we were going to eat them Russian roulette style.”

You want to know who the real moron is? The girl who buys the red ones, which are NOT GREEN, and everyone knows red means hotter than hell, except when we’re talking about tomatoes, but that’s a totally different story, one that I’m not even trying to tell you today, and who buys them even when they have a giant sign on them that warns about their heat, and they’re being sold at the end of the season and they’re all three to four inches long.

Yes, folks. I’m the real moron.

padronsauteBut I sautéed them up tonight anyway. I took one for the team, and also, because at the end of the day (or the beginning, for that matter), I really love some heat with my pepper. I want flavor, of course, but heat? Bring it. I’m like the Robert DeNiro of eating, people, only I don’t get shot in the end.

How did it go? Well, because of the size of the peppers, I only bought seven of them. I blistered them up in a pan with olive oil, tossed them with a healthy dollop of kosher salt, and sat down with a plate of three.

Pepper number one made my mouth tingle.

Pepper number two caused me to sweat.

Pepper number three triggered a level of burning in my stomach I haven’t experienced in a long while. But did I back down? Did I run for a beer? No, people. No, I did not. I sat there like a champ and took it. Because that is what I do. I live for the heat, people. I live for the heat.

And then I ate a bowl of Massa Organics rice because the heat, it scared me. And the world was different for a time.

But, as I was putting away the last four peppers, I couldn’t help myself. I ate just one more. And that meant I’m going to bed tonight with tingling lips and the knowledge that, tomorrow, there’s a little more capsaicin-based craziness in my fridge.

It’s waiting. It’s just waiting. And Kristina, I’ll have you know that I, the Supreme Moron, am totally up for the challenge.

12 Comments on “The challenge of the aged padrón”

  1. #1 Bellini Valli
    on Nov 18th, 2009 at 4:00 am

    Thanks for the warning Genie. I saw these green peppers at the farmers market in San Francisco last week and would have loved to smuggle them back to Canada. Last time we were in SF we ventured to Contigo…what a fabulous place that is!!!!

  2. #2 chzplz
    on Nov 18th, 2009 at 4:53 am

    “And that meant I’m going to bed tonight with tingling lips and the knowledge that, tomorrow, there’s a little more capsaicin-based craziness in my fridge.”

    …and in your bathroom in the morning.

  3. #3 inadvertentgardener
    on Nov 18th, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Val, the green ones are definitely not as hot (OK, well, some of them are, but not all of them, for sure…) as the red ones. The red ones were crazy! But I would do it all over again.

    Oh, Chzplz, did you *have* to take us there? Really? ;-)

  4. #4 Kristina
    on Nov 18th, 2009 at 11:48 am

    I’m so happy we can be morons together! We let a few (OK, we forgot about them!) ripen to red and they’re scorchers. They have such amazing flavor though that those few seconds before you run for the sour cream container are amazing.

  5. #5 inadvertentgardener
    on Nov 18th, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Kristina, totally — I would have eaten all seven if I hadn’t forced myself to stop. Even with the pain, seriously…the flavor is unreal. Totally worth it. TOTALLY worth it. Thanks for warning me, though. I would have been much less cautious (you know, less cautious than NOT CAUTIOUS AT ALL) had I not had the heads-up from you.

  6. #6 Kristina
    on Nov 18th, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    It reminds me of the time I made jerk sauce from our habaneros. I was eating it by the spoonful while tears were dripping out of my eyes. Marcus was chasing me around the kitchen telling me to quit eating it but I couldn’t – it was that freaking good. I paid for that. Paid for it in spades. But I would do it again!

  7. #7 Faith Kramer
    on Nov 18th, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I’ve heard of taking one for the Gipper, but this is taking one for the pepper!

  8. #8 inadvertentgardener
    on Nov 18th, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Kristina, I knew I liked you for a reason. :-)

    Faith, a good food blogger will take one for the cause!

  9. #9 A seedy admission – The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Nov 19th, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    [...] “You look awfully chipper today,” said one of my coworkers the morning after my lip-blistering experience with the padrón peppers. [...]

  10. #10 Kristina
    on Nov 25th, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that my husband is giving you mad props right now. We made cranberry salsa and he used a red Padron. WOW!!!! He totally thinks he’s unworthy to have you as a co-wife now. :D

  11. #11 inadvertentgardener
    on Nov 26th, 2009 at 1:14 am


  12. #12 The challenge of the aged padrón « Oakland Grown
    on Dec 2nd, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    [...] and planned for a fun evening of sautéing them up and playing padrón roulette… Continue here.   Leave a [...]

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