Confession: every time I look at this site lately, I’m socked with guilt. Guilt, because I see the expansive gaps between my posts. Guilt, because I miss my time with food and words, words and food. We’ve been busy. We’ve had a gazillion things going on in life – as everyone does – and my moments here have been squeezed to bits. But no more guilt. Let’s focus on the positives.
The positives are above: can you smell them? Can you taste that sweet-spicy allure of the Spanish padrón? What’s a padrón, you ask? It is, I think, the perkiest little pepper I ever did taste, and it harbors something mysterious inside. Something addictive. Toss a handful of freshly picked padróns into a hot wok of coconut oil, mix and stir, sprinkle with salt, then pop them into your mouth, one by one. Eat with drinks. Eat them all. You will drink more because of this pepper.
This is what our friends at Thunderhead Farms are growing. You can read all about them and their story at the all-new, in-progress Thunderhead Farms website. It’s an all-new, in-progress design by Jerry himself, the man behind Redcoates Studios web design and development (plus photography). Soon enough, the site will include recipes for all Thunderhead Farms produce. Farmer Jon walked into our kitchen one night, handed me a bag of peppers and said: “Here! Make a recipe!” It was the best darn excuse I’ve had in a long time to get back into the kitchen with my thinking cap on.
I just kept thinking peppers, pine nuts, cotija. Then: peppers, pine nuts, cotija, lemon, anchovies. And sundried tomatoes, right? You need the sweetness of sundried tomatoes to balance the tart lemon, salty anchovies, and hot peppers. Right?
And so it went from there.
This is what the kitchen looked like, in mid-stream recipe development:
And this is the recipe in its final form:
Grilled Padróns with Pine Nuts, Anchovies, Sundried Tomatoes & Cheese
6 cups medium-sized padróns
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 lemon, juiced with flesh
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1 small tin anchovies, minced
3/4 cups minced sundried tomatoes
Wash peppers and grill high off the coals, careful not to scorch them. Padrons have thin, delicate skins that can easily burn. You want them toasty, not blackened.
Meanwhile, whisk together garlic, lemon, salt, olive oil and anchovies. Set aside.
After peppers have cooled slightly, trim off stems and chop into bite-sized pieces (if desired). Drizzle with dressing. Toss with sundried tomatoes and top with crumbled cotija. Serve warm.