I can’t help but feel a bit crestfallen that summer is nearly over. Not too long ago I was making sour cherry baby pies while planning a trip to the Outer Banks and now it’s September. I had so many grand summer projects planned like pickling and preserving but summer just flew by so quickly. Sigh. But what I will certainly miss the most are the the long summer days. I don’t know about you but I feel most productive in the summer when I feel I can pack my day with so many things because of the longer days. I guess they’re not long enough to get all my summer projects done! But don’t you love taking after-dinner walks when it’s still bright outside? Stanford and I surely do.
But I should shake these summer blues off because Fall is here! I always tell family and friends that Fall is the perfect time to visit San Francisco because the weather is perfect. Days are warm and sunny and nights are mild and clear. The city is gorgeous in the Fall even without the changing colors. I think it’s the way the soft, Fall light illuminates the city and how it casts long beautiful shadows. Plus, of course, I look forward to the string of holidays, which is just around the corner.
For me, the bearer of good news that Fall is upon us is the tasty Pimientos de Padrón — the tiny, lush green Padrón peppers. Simply fried in olive oil and sprinkled with salt, these peppers are packed with a delightful sweet and nutty flavor. But let me warn you, one out of about a dozen or so is typically scorching hot. The smaller ones are sweeter while the bigger, more odd-shaped ones are hotter. They are the perfect tapas, the perfect snack to enjoy on a warm Indian summer day.
In San Francisco, Padrón Peppers are available from August through October in Farmers’ Markets. Happy Quail Farms, a small pepper farm in East Palo Alto, sells both sweet and hot varieties in the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Fried Padrón Peppers Recipe
coarse sea salt
Cover the bottom of a frying pan or skillet with olive oil and heat. Toss the Padrón peppers in the pan when the olive oil is hot. The peppers are ready when they start having small white blisters. Sprinkle with sea salt before serving. An alternative to frying is grilling but make sure not to burn the peppers.