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Raw Padrón peppers
Padrón peppers (Galician: pementos de Padrón) or Herbón peppers are a variety of peppers (Capsicum annuum) from the municipality of Padrón in the province of A Coruña, Galicia, northwestern Spain. European Union law has protected the name Pimiento de Herbón under the protected designation of origin since 2009 (PDO). These are small peppers about 2 inches (5 cm) long, with a colour ranging from bright green to yellowish green, and occasionally red. Their peculiarity lies on the fact that, while their taste is usually mild, a minority (10-25%) are particularly hot. Whether a given pepper ends up being hot or mild depends on the amount of water and sunlight it receives during its growth, in addition to temperature. It's said that solely watering the soil of the plant is likely to produce milder pimentos, whilst watering the whole plant, leaves and stalks included, produces peppers of the spicier variety.
The peppers are customarily fried in olive oil until the skin starts to blister and the pepper collapses. They are then served hot with the oil and a dusting of coarse salt, sometimes accompanied by chunks of bread, as tapas.
These peppers are grown along the banks of the river Ulla and its tributary Sar, especially in the greenhouses of the municipality of Padrón, hence the name. This pepper is also currently grown in various places of southern Spain, the United States, Canada (primarily in the provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario), Mexico, and Morocco. They can also be grown in a warm place in the garden in the UK. The peppers are picked while their size is still small, starting as soon as mid-May. Traditionally, they were sold in the period going from late May until late October or, on occasion, even early November. However, the introduction of greenhouse plantations has made them available throughout the year.
Padrón peppers are small, with an elongated, conic shape. The taste is mild, but some exemplars can be quite hot, which property has given rise to the popular Galician aphorism Os pementos de Padrón, uns pican e outros non ("Padrón peppers, some are hot, some are not"). Typically, there is no way of determining whether a given pepper will be hot or mild, short of actually eating it, though some maintain that smelling each cooked Padrón for spice prior to eating is a good indicator.
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- Pemento de HERBÓN, Regulating Council of the Protected Designation of Origin.