Blistered Padrón Peppers En Escabeche

Marinated peppers are a popular preparation in Mexican cuisine. Those spicy jalapeños, carrots and onions floating in a flavorful brine you mouthwateringly gaze upon in your local taqueria are an example. But these might also ruin your day. For this dish, the less hot Padrón peppers and technique of blistering turns this variation of peppers in escabeche in a decidedly smokey and sweet direction.

Padrón peppers are originally from Spain. These small, dark green, flavor grenades are on seemingly every restaurant menu during the core summer months for good reason. They’re usually easy to eat being bite sized, mild in heat (except for 1 in 10) and pack an addictive sweet and earthy bite.

They’re also extremely versatile in application. Simple pan-roasted with sea salt is popular but in this recipe you blister them over high heat and marinate in escabeche (Spanish for marinated) with other vegetables in bright vinegar-y and garlick-y brine to serve with roast chicken, fish, or tacos. Another possibility is as a salad with fresh scraped corn off the cob, shaved radishes, and crumbly cotija cheese.

Total time: 45 minutes, plus cooling / serves 2-4

½ pound small-sized Padrón peppers, about 2 cups, stems trimmed

⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 medium carrots, peeled, sliced into ¼-inch pieces on a slight bias

2 small red onions, peeled, ends trimmed, cut into ¼” slices along the grain

2 almond-size garlic cloves, sliced thin

TK teaspoons Kosher salt

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, freshly ground

½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

½ cup loosely-packed parsley leaves, finely chopped

1 Blister the peppers and saute the vegetables: Heat a medium-sized saute pan over medium to high heat. Once hot add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Just before smoking hot, add the peppers to the pan, turning the peppers a few times until marked with dark blisters all over, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and transfer the peppers to a bowl while you saute the vegetables. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add the carrots and saute, turning until just cooked through yet still al dente, about 2-3 minutes Transfer the carrots to the bowl with the peppers. Next add the red onions, garlic and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and saute until slightly tender, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer the onions and garlic to the bowl, return the pan to the stove and turn down the heat to low.

2 Marinate the peppers: Place the coriander, black pepper, both vinegars, the remaining olive oil, the bowl with the reserved peppers and vegetables and 1 teaspoon salt in the pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the finished Padrón peppers en escabeche to a bowl and let cool to room temp before serving. Refrigerate when completely cool stored in a shallow layer in an X container.

Notes Can be made up to a week ahead. Best if taken out to room temperature. Serving chilled is ok too.