Spanish Peppers Grown in Virginia Soil
Spain's addictive little peppers, pimientos de padron , were hard to find beyond farmers markets until Williamsburg, Va.-based La Tienda decided to import seed and grow its own in Hanover County. The green peppers are picked just after they have formed and are not as hot as the ones that grow to full size (which turn bright red and have the heat of habanero chili peppers). Now that the peppers are affordable and available nationally, cooks everywhere whose appetites have been whetted by evocative descriptions in travel magazines can bring a little bit of Spain into their kitchen with a click of the mouse.
La Tienda's Jonathan Harris suggests a simple preparation: Fry the peppers in a thin layer of very hot olive oil until they start to puff up, then transfer them to a plate and sprinkle with sea salt. "Every once in a while you'll eat a hotter one, which is a little surprise," he says. $13.50 per pound (60 to 80 count, enough for four to six servings, Harris says), plus shipping. Call 800-710-4304 or go to www.tienda.com.
-- Brandon Fox