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This is the first season Mike James of Blueberry Hill Farm in Clear Spring, Md., has grown Padrón peppers. “I had to read up on how to cultivate. The first few didn’t turn out so well,” he says. The trick, he discovered, was picking them young, before they got too hot. The small, mild green peppers take their name from a town in northern Spain, although they are native to South America. They’re a staple of tapas spreads.
How to Buy: Blueberry Hill is the first farm I’ve found selling Padróns. James sells them for $3 a pint at the H Street NE, Foggy Bottom, and Palisades farmers markets. The peppers will be available until the end of summer.
How to Cook: James suggests serving Padróns in the traditional Spanish style: Heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a frying pan until it’s nearly smoking. Pan-fry the peppers, turning occasionally, until they blister and blacken. Serve with coarse salt and toasted buttered bread (I used the Pain Campagne from Panorama at the 14th and U streets NW market) and a cold beer. James cautions that one in 20 peppers is very hot. “That’s why you need the beer.”
Photo by Phoebe Connelly