I’m truly cooking for one for a couple of weeks while Carol is visiting her parents in Ohio. Last night, part of my dinner was two big ears of corn, grilled. I ate a little less than one, and cut the balance off the ears. When I started thinking about lunch today, I started thinking about corn.
Who doesn’t love corn stir fried with onions, tomato and peppers? Well, I do. But I had no peppers. Oh… I have a bag of Pimiento de Padron peppers from my Mariquita Mystery Box. I was lucky to receive The Ladybug Letter about Pimiento de Padron, just as I was writing this.
“Padron is a town in Spain north of Portugal in Galicia on the Atlantic coast. The citizens of Padron would have been among the first Europeans to see and experiment with these new “peppers” that the explorers brought back from overseas. They adopted one particular variety out of all these newly arrived peppers to be their own “Pimiento de Padron.”
“Gallegan cooks learned that the tiny, tender peppers are very flavorful, and rarely have much heat at all to them if they’re picked young enough. Only the older, firmer, heavier, waxier peppers are hot, and they learned to pick them out and set them aside. The cooks learned too that these new peppers could be cooked fast, in just a little more time than it takes to heat up a cast iron skillet. They’d get the pan hot, splash a little olive oil onto it, and when the oil was almost smoking hot, they’d toss on a handful of the tiny peppers. The peppers would hop and sizzle for a few seconds. When the peppers were blistered on one side, the cooks would shake the pan, toss the peppers, and let them blister on the other side. Then a quick sprinkle of sea salt, a deft sweep of the pan with a wooden fork, and the peppers were served, ready to eat, sweet, savory, salty, and piping hot.” [excerpted from The Ladybug Letter, linked above]
That’s how I have enjoyed my Pimiento de Padron. But today I had something different in mind. Use the little, bright green morsels like one would a bell pepper. How bad can it be? Better yet, How good can it be? With Carol gone, I’m totally free to experiment and develop new ways with known ingredients.
I got out the corn to come to room temperature while I peeled two early girl tomatoes, roughly chopped them and chopped a fresh cippilini onion. I cut the stems off the peppers and cut the body in half lengthwise, so the pieces of pepper were bite-size.
Ready to go, I put the Joyce Chen wok on high heat and swirled in a generous amount of olive oil. When that was good and hot, I turned the heat down to medium and threw in the peppers and onions. They started with a good sizzle, but then calmed while I seasoned with salt and pepper and stirred for a couple minutes to soften the onions. I added the corn and stirred that in, then added the tomatoes and stirred as the juices started to get nice and bubbly. Not wanting to skimp on richness, I threw in a knob of butter and kept stirring. (Oops, no longer vegan!)
That’s done, and oh my, very tasty. The Padron peppers offer a good green taste to jack up the corn, onions and tomatoes. They taste very distinctive and different than green bell peppers, in a good way… a very good way. And they kept their bright green color to make my lunch look as good as it tasted.