Padrón and shishtio peppers are two of my favorite summertime treats. They look and taste fairly similar. Am slightly partial to Padróns, which have a thinner, more tender skin and smaller seeds than do shishitos.
In my neck of the woods, Padróns are difficult to come by, so I often substitute shishitos. Not an exact substitute, but close enough. I’ve read that shishitos are particularly good tempura battered and deep fried. Of course, what doesn’t taste good after being tempura battered and deep fried?
As you can see in the above photo, Padróns (top) are wider and have a smoother texture, whereas shishitos (bottom) are more narrow and wrinkly. They look rather similar, can you see the difference?
I spotted shishitos and Padróns at the Union Square Greenmarket while in NYC last weekend (and procured a few for the ride back to D.C.). I’ve also seen Padróns at my favorite little Spanish market in Bethesda, Maryland as of late. As for shishitos, I commonly find them at my local Asian market and, from time to time, have spotted them at Whole Foods.
Padron = aka pimientos de Padrón, a Spanish heirloom chile pepper.
Shishito = Japanese cousin of the Padrón.
They say that 1 in every 10 chiles is spicy.
“Os Pementos de Padrón, uns pican e outros non,” a common Galician saying that translate into, “Padrón peppers, some are hot and some are not.”
Shishitos and Padróns are great simply pan-fried with a little olive oil and coarse sea salt. I’ve devoured plate after plate of Padróns in Spain. Just pop them in my mouth like candy.
Warning: Padróns are highly addictive.
For the shishitos, pictured below, I sprinkled the pan-fried shishitos with sea salt and a little ichimi togarashi (ground chile pepper — red bottle) and yuzu shichimi (red pepper, sesame seeds, orange peel, yuzu peel, seaweed, and hempseed — yellow bottle). The spice blends are from a local Japanese grocery store.
All you need to do is pan fry the peppers in a little oil until browned and blistered in spots. Then sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
Like I said, Padróns and shishitos are delicious on their own, but I had other plans for the Padróns…a tapa (or pintxo, if you’re in Basque country) of grilled bread (rubbed with garlic) topped with either Spanish chorizo or Serrano ham, a fried quail egg, and a roasted Padrón.
Cute little quail eggs…they’re so tiny, they cook in a manner of seconds.
A baguette, thinly sliced, grilled/toasted, and then rubbed with a clove of garlic
Quail eggs, fried
Chorizo or Serrano ham, thinly sliced
Padróns, one for each tapa, plus extra (because you’ll want more, trust me)
Coarse or flaky sea salt
smoked Spanish paprika
To cook the Padróns peppers: Heat a large skillet with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Add the Padróns (in batches, you don’t want to crowd the pan). Cook, stirring, until the Padróns are browned and blistered in spots. Remove from the pan and sprinkle with coarse seas salt. Repeat with remaining Padróns.
For the tapa: Rub the grilled bread with a clove of garlic. Top with thin slices of chorizo or Serrano ham, and then a fried quail egg. Top with a pan-roasted Padrón and secure with a toothpick. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle of smoked paprika. Enjoy while they’re hot.