Pimientos de Padrón | Grilling

Joshua Bousel

Before leaving for a recent Spanish vacation, more than one person warned me that they didn't have great eating experiences there. That scared me, enough to have me scouring blogs, reviews, and friend recommendations for the best of best in each city I visited. In the end it paid off—I don't think I've ever eaten better in my life. While I had some mighty fine fancy meals, it was the simple dishes —rich Iberican ham, lightly crisped artichokes, perfectly crunchy and creamy potatoes—that made the most lasting impressions.

One of my favorites were softened and blistered pimientos de Padrón—a small green pepper primarily grown in the Galician town of Padrón. I thought they'd be something I'd have to leave in Spain, so when I saw them in the grocery last week, I got all giddy and brought some home to cook.

I was ready to give them the traditional pan-fried treatment, then thought they'd probably do just as well on the grill. Tossed lightly in olive oil then cooked over high heat, they charred and blistered in minutes. A quick sprinkle of sea salt was all they needed to finish.

I know it's not much of recipe, but these little peppers are insanely awesome. Slightly fruity, fresh, and salty, they're a perfect accompaniment to almost anything. For the most part they're pretty mild, but every once in a while there's a hot pepper in the batch, which makes them all the more fun to eat. I'm so glad I was able to find these peppers back at home, and you shouldn't hesitate to pick them up if you ever see them yourself.