It was in Barcelona that I first had fried peppers. The smoky bar called Bar Rodrigo served them sizzling on a plate, and we chewed on their crunchy salty bodies chased with gulps of wine. I fell in love.
I’ve always enjoyed fried peppers in tapas bars because they are sweet and have the right kind of heat along with crisp skins and the bite of rock salt. Pimentos de Padrons are commonly used in Spanish cuisine, but in Asian restaurants (and recently in modern bars), shishito peppers are the pepper of choice. They aren’t normally available in supermarkets yet but Farmer’s Markets seem to be picking them up. In New York, Union Square Market reportedly carries them, as do Asian supermarkets like Han Ah Rheum and Sunrise Mart.
|Fried shishito peppers, better made by a Japanese friend in Woodside.|
I picked up some shishito peppers (in the middle) from Sunrise Mart in the East Village.
We fried them in a hot pan with some olive oil and tossed in some rock salt.
Voila! Simple, sweet, spicy, salty and full of surprises. This is great as an appetizer with wine and cocktails. Watch out for the hot ones! This one is definitely not for the faint of heart.