Simple Sundays | Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli

Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli |

I took a breather last week. You may have noticed things were a little quiet here the last few days. While I wish I could tell you that I was on a remote island, digging my toes in fine sand while balancing a chilled glass of some rum-infused drink in one hand, I was very much here at home, working on some very exciting projects. And the time I allowed myself between projects was used to dig through cabinets, purging and organizing. We spent much of last weekend going through piles of old books, recycling papers, and giving our office space a good deep clean.

Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli | | Padrón Peppers
Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli | | Padrón Peppers

We go through these purges every so often, but for some reason, it is the books that give me the hardest time. For many years, books were the one possession I found hardest to let go – once a book was read (and reread), they were a part of me, a member of the family. The mere thought of getting rid of a book was extremely difficult. Some were badges of honor (like all those textbooks I kept from my clinical psychology program), some were mementos of childhood (Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice), and as I got older, sentimental bits of early motherhood (Goodnight Moon).

Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli | | Padrón Peppers

I’ve learned to say goodbye to many books – moving several times and dealing with a growing family and shrinking storage space will teach you how. But if it were up to me, I would have that library, tall towers of built in shelves lining the walls, surrounding me with these old friends.

Amid the purging and the projects, I stumbled across these plump Padrón Peppers at the market, to my surprise and excitement. The last time I bit into a Padrón, I was with my husband and our friends at Frances, in the Castro district. I was taken by the buttermilk aioli served alongside, cool and tangy, the perfect little pool of creaminess for dipping the just blistered, peppery Padróns. I knew Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli was something I needed to recreate at home, once I had a chance.

Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli |

Have you had the chance to enjoy Padrón peppers? If not, I hope you do soon, they’re such a treat, especially if you love some spice…and the element of surprise. Padrón peppers are much like books, you see. Some are mild and pleasing. Others are punchy with incredible heat. You never know what you’re going to get. You just have to dig in. But that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?

Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli |

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Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli

Yield: Serves 4.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Simple and insanely delicious, it's hard to stop eating these spicy peppers. A perfect addition to charcuterie or as an easy appetizer, it's perfect party food. The buttermilk aioli is a must. Make plenty, because they'll be devoured in no time.


For the Buttermilk Aioli:
3 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Blistered Padrón Peppers
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pints Padrón Peppers
Course salt (such as Kosher salt or sea flakes)


Make the Buttermilk Aioli:
Peel and mash the garlic along with the salt, finely mincing and pressing with the side of the knife to create a paste. Place the garlic in a small bowl, season with some freshly cracked black pepper and whisk in the egg yolk until it is creamy. As you whisk, begin to add the olive oil gradually: begin with just a few drops of olive oil, fully whisking until the yolks thicken and emulsify. Continue adding the olive oil in drops, then in a very slow stream, continually whisking. It should be thick and very creamy. Whisk in the buttermilk and season with cayenne pepper, sherry vinegar, and additional salt and pepper, to taste. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This can be done a few days in advance.

Make the Blistered Padrón Peppers:
Heat a heavy skillet (cast iron would be ideal) over high heat. Add the olive oil, swirling the skillet to evenly coat. Drop in the Padrón peppers, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they pucker and wilt a little, with dark blisters on the skin. Season generously with salt and transfer to a serving dish.

Garnish with a little more salt if desired and serve while piping hot, with the Buttermilk Aioli.

Aioli sauce adapted from The Creamiest Aioli Recipe, Suzanne Goin, via Bon Appetit (April, 2012).

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by Liren Baker on July 28, 2013

20 Responses to “Simple Sundays | Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli”

  1. Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) July 28, 2013 @ 7:38 am (#

    Oh now that looks really yummy! I usually woldn’t go for something like this but I think I must try!

    • Liren replied: — July 28th, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

      It really is a must try, Jocelyn, and I hope you do! They don’t look like the most photogenic foods, but seriously, the flavor is amazing :)

  2. Laura (Tutti Dolci) July 28, 2013 @ 7:02 pm (#

    I love Padrón peppers, these look so good!

    • Liren replied: — July 29th, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

      Thanks, Laura! :)

  3. jennifer s July 28, 2013 @ 7:59 pm (#

    loved seeing these in my inbox! just got back from a trip to spain, and these were one of the many delightful tapas we enjoyed while over there. thanks for posting!

    • Liren replied: — July 29th, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

      Welcome back! How lucky that you were able to enjoy these, and *in* Spain! I have friends who just returned as well, I am living vicariously through their travels and tastes. Hope this helps you relive those vacation tapas memories when you make them!

  4. Marcie July 28, 2013 @ 10:01 pm (#

    This looks absolutely wonderful. I love charred peppers, and that buttermilk aioli sounds divine! I always dread giving books away because I’m sentimental about each and every one. I don’t really know why I buy books except that I like to keep them in my bookcase…my library. I need to purge soon and in not looking forward to it!

    • Liren replied: — July 29th, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

      Thanks, Marcie! I always dread the book purge, it sometimes several purges before I finally let go of a particular book :)

  5. Jess July 29, 2013 @ 12:30 am (#

    I live in Galicia, where these peppers are from. They have a saying about them: uns pican, outros non. Some are spicy, some are not. Though we don’t usually eat them with anything besides olive oil and salt, the aioli looks delicious! Good job blistering them correctly! They are one of the best parts of a Galician summer. Check out my blog for more about the area!

    • Liren replied: — July 29th, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

      Love the saying, it is so true. You’re right, a little olive oil and salt is all you need, but I must say, the aioli is a nice addition, once in a while. I’m so glad you approve, and will definitely be checking out your blog to learn more about Galicia!

  6. madscar July 29, 2013 @ 1:28 am (#

    Love it! This is amazing :)

    • Liren replied: — July 29th, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

      Thank you so much!

  7. Cristina July 29, 2013 @ 10:12 am (#

    I’ve never heard or seen a Padrón peppers before, Liren. They look like mini-Anaheims. I’d probably have to find them at the Farmer’s Market or grow them myself. Thx for introducing them – I can almost smell them thru those images! :) Yes, books are the toughest to get rid of – I have a stack of books in my office that I can’t decide to try to sell them online or just donate them to the local library…

    Have a lovely week!

    • Liren replied: — July 30th, 2013 @ 8:49 am

      Hi Cristina! True, they do look like mini-Anaheims. I hope you find them at the farmer’s market, I know they are plentiful right now up here. Also, if you can’t find Padrón peppers, Shishito is a good substitute. They’re quite similar, though the Shishito is longer.

      As for that stack of books, I feel your pain. We just brought several boxes worth to our library, which went towards their big summer book sale. That made me feel a little better :)

  8. Patty July 29, 2013 @ 3:37 pm (#

    Love Padrón peppers and have finally started growing my own this Summer! We have been brushing them with olive oil and grilling them along with what ever meat we grill for dinner. They have more flavor blistered in oil in a skillet but the grill method is pretty good and easy for a quickie Padrón pepper fix ;)

    • Liren replied: — July 30th, 2013 @ 8:51 am

      Oh, Patty, you have the garden of my dreams! I’ve been wondering how they would do on the grill; interesting to know the heat element is a little different! But i would happily eat it this way, so convenient when grilling dinner :)

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  10. merry jennifer July 30, 2013 @ 3:41 pm (#

    I so wish we had these peppers here in Florida, but I’ve looked for the past 4 or 5 years and have never seen them. The only time I’ve had them was in California several years ago, at the CIA at Greystone (I forget the name of their fancy restaurant). They were *amazing*.

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