The peppers we used in our recent Mediterranean – Touch of Spice cooking class were fantastic and very well received. They make a great tapas dish and are fun to cook around the barbecue and with your friends in the kitchen. next time we will have the Piementos de Padrone. Our recent ones were these:
Stavros from Greece The finest heirloom Greek Pepperoncini; it has a wonderful spicy/sweet flavour that makes it very special. Traditionally picked young for pickling, they are used also as a fryer or stuffed.
Friarello di Napoli from southern Italy The famous frying pepper, hence its name, of Naples, Italy. This heirloom produces small, long, cone-shaped peppers that are fried or pickled and are known for their sweet, distinctive flavour.
Guindillas, from Basque, Spain A spicy, light-green Basque fryer that is served in tapas bars fried with garlic and olive oil. Most of the Guindillas have a little heat and this is variable. It is also a fantastic pickling pepper.
The peppers are all delicious, with the Pimiento de Padron being very special. They feature on the menus in tapas bars in Melbourne and around the world.
They are delicious cooked in olive oil and salt with some garlic and lemon zest, possibly some feta thrown into the pan and enjoyed casually around the kitchen table as a tapas dish whilst waiting for the main event.
To cook the peppers:
Wash the peppers and dry on a paper towel.
Heat a frying pan with a small amount of olive oil, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan
Add the peppers when the oil begins to smoke just a bit
Fry the peppers shaking the pan so that all sides cook
As the peppers start to blister, sprinkle liberally with sea salt.
Once the peppers are slightly browned and blistered on all sides, remove from heat and cover in pan for 2-3 minutes.
Add a bit more salt and serve while hot!
You may also like to cook them with the zest of lemon, a few garlic cloves in their skins and also some cubed marinated feta.
Richard Mohans, the grower, has a large clientele from Noosa tapas chefs, to more than 100 leading restaurants across Australia, including the Rockpool group, Guillaume at Bennelong, Buon Ricordo, and Melbourne’s Cutler & Co, Bar Lourinha and MoVida. In addition to these clients, Mohan’s Midyim Eco also sends out regular post packs of peppers to more than 1500 private customers.
Richard, a former law student and musician, is inordinately proud that he is possibly the only organic cultivator of these peppers and pimientos de Padron in Australia. He lives in his ramshackle farmhouse in a valley just outside Conondale in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
“This is the worst climate for pimientos you could find,” he laughs. “Too little rain or not enough, and in winter we get frosts that can be fatal. That’s why we’ve got half the crop in poly-tunnels now. We can’t afford heating but we close up the tunnels at night and the heat from the soil seems to keep the frost at bay, so we’re getting close to year-round production now. Here, see what you think of these.”
Richard’s first obsession is with Pimiento de Padron, however, he now also grows 11 other peppers from different parts of the world. They are all cooked in the same method: lightly fried in olive oil and served with salt. They’re all different shapes, sizes and colours.
Midyim Eco’s organically grown pimientos de Padron and these other varieties are available seasonally from the grower direct. For more information visit www.midyimeco.com.au or contact Richard Mohan at Richard@midyimeco.com.au