Need to escape this heat? Take a culinary vacation with a quick Spanish recipe for blistered peppers. Salty and occasionally spicy, these peppers make a great snack or side dish in minutes. Find these peppers at the farmers market for a local meal!

It’s yet another hot week in DC, the metro air conditioning is on the fritz, and the last thing anyone wants to do is cook.  I get that.  But the solution is not to come home and take an ice bath (although I can see how that would be tempting).  No, the solution is to make a quick appetizer that’s salty and a little greasy, but still counts as a vegetable.  So put down the chips and class up your night with a taste of Spain via the sometimes spicy Padron pepper.

Spanish tapas, or small plates, often include blistered Padron peppers.  These petite green peppers are quickly blistered in a hot pan with a thin coating of olive oil and then sprinkled with salt.  The cooking process takes only minutes, so it involves minimal laboring over a hot stove and maximum indulgence.  Salty, rich, and occasionally spicy, the peppers put a sophisticated spin on make-your-own-quesadilla night.  My only warning is that I’ve heard one in ten of the peppers are surprisingly spicy, so proceed with caution as the bigger peppers can make dinner into more of a Russian Roulette.  I purchased my at the farmers market over the weekend and tried to select the smallest of the available peppers for my cooking adventures.

To make this quick appetizer/side dish, heat one tablespoon of oil in a skillet.  Once sufficiently hot, add peppers to the pan, where they will sizzle.  Using tongs, turn peppers to ensure that all sides are blistered.  The cooking process will take about four minutes in total.  After the peppers are blistered, transfer them to a paper towel to remove excess oil.  When you remove the peppers from the heat, it’s normal for them to deflate a bit.  Generously sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt on the peppers and enjoy, seeds and all!  (But don’t eat the stems.)

This recipe works equally well with shishito peppers, green Japanese pepper that holds up well to a quick blister in hot oil.