Pimientos de Padrón with a touch of sesame oil and flower peppers
These Spanish peppers have caught on in San Francisco Bay Area. Last few years they were expensive and scarce at the farmer’s market, a small basket for $5. This year, our neighborhood Asian market has a large bag of these for $5. Last year, I fried these peppers in oil until blistery. This year, I got lazy and decided to push these under the broiler. Surprisingly enough, they came out at least as good as fried if not better.
Following recipe serves two. Rinse 3 cups of Padrón peppers and dry with a paper towel. Add 1/2 tsp of sesame oil and toss. Place 3 inches under the hot broiler. They start popping in a minute or so. When appropriately blistered, turn them over and blister the other side. Sprinkle with crystal salt (this is the time to pull out the smoked salt you have been hanging on to) and sichuan pepper (flower pepper) before snacking. They are best had warm and fresh out of the oven. They can be a little hot once in a while, but only just a little. The hint of sichuan peppers adds a different, though still peppery, flavor.
PS: Note that quality of sichuan pepper can be very varied. The best ones are very flowery and tongue numbing. The poor quality ones lack aroma and can be a bit sandy.