CSA Week 13: Seattle’s Year of the Padron

Cassius, Roxy and the contents of the 12th week's CSA Box

Cassius, Roxy and the contents of the 12th week’s CSA Box

This Weeks Box:

 
Padrons
Mild/Sweet Pepper Mix – more Padrons!
Hot Pepper Mix
Potatoes
Red Cabbage
Collard Greens
Tomatoes
Melon
Winter Squash – Thelma Sanders
Parsley
…and a petite como loaf from Grand Central Baking Co.

 

It’s now week 12 of this summer’s CSA and I have to admit I’ve gotten more peppers this year than I ever imagined possible. Last year we had a surplus of onions, but they stored so well I didn’t have to buy another onion until the following January. This year’s diverse pepper crop at Sol to Seed Farm was phenomenal and so I’ve been roasting and freezing all that we cannot consume fresh. There were so many different varieties of peppers — hot chiles to mild frying peppers like Pimientos de Padron or Padron peppers.

My Padron Experience Began

In 2004 when we moved from New York City to Portland, I first tasted Padron peppers at the Portland Farmers Market. Viridian Farm had samples of a the peppers fried in olive oil and sprinkled with flaky salt. From that day forward I was on the lookout for more Padrons. At the time only Viridian Farm and their market following seemed to know or care about them.

Fast forward to 2008 and we’re living in Seattle. I hadn’t seen Padron peppers sold anywhere since leaving Portland and I missed them. Then one day I spotted them at Whole Foods Market. These suspicious looking Padron peppers were produced in California, under a brand synonymous with year-round cherry tomatoes. Wanting to relive the taste experience, I bought a clamshell of Padrons and went home and fried them. Sure they were edible, but they lacked flavor and were a little tough. I decided not to buy anymore from the store. I hadn’t tasted a decent Padron since leaving Portland in 2006, that is until last summer (2012) when Sol to Seed Farm shared their real farm fresh Padrons at week 8!

Padrons almost everywhere this year in Seattle- on trendy restaurant menus, at the grocery stores and at the farmers markets. Last week I made a frittata with sauteed mushrooms, Padron peppers and sheep’s milk cheese. Padrons are great fried and roasted but that sprinkling of flaky salt is required in my book. I even pickled some thinking they might make good salad peppers but they weren’t amazing so I probably won’t try that again. Below you’ll see a photo of last night’s dinner. I added Padron peppers to a red beet and carrot roast and it turned out wonderful. Still my favorite way to eat Padrons is simply fried in olive oil and sprinkled with flaked sea salt. I can’t eat just one.

Padrons were declared a menu trend in 2012 Portland Monthly. I’m glad Seattle has joined me in appreciating Padrons.

Pork Chop with Roasted Beets, Carrots,  Padron Peppers

Pork Chop with Roasted Beets, Carrots, Padron Peppers

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