Today, a salad. Because in exactly one week I will be 28 years old and, on a day like that, salad is not going to cut it. On that particular and quickly approaching day, some sort of chocolate/peanut butter/more chocolate monstrosity will likely be in order, but today? Today we will stick with this simple and lovely, bright and mischievous salad. We’re only 27, after all.
Padron peppers are full of mischief. Buggery. Small and unassuming, they look out brightly from the stalls of the Bay Area farmer’s markets, their green skins smooth and shiny. Look at the cute and tiny peppers! You’ll probably buy some, because you will buy pretty much anything in miniature form (I can’t be the only one who does this. …No? Right? Anybody?!?). You’ll try one. It will be crisp, mild, herby. Another one! It’ll go down snappy and smooth. Then, a third…
Your eyes will widen and your jaw, it’ll slack. That third pepper will be SPICY. It will slap you in the face with spice, firstly because it’s just plain spicy, but secondly because you hadn’t expected it to be so. Mischief! Wonderment! Pepper roulette!
It’s sort of fun, really. This time of year, late summer, Padron peppers contain more capsaicin than in June or July (now, about 1 in 5 is spicy, says my farmer’s market vendor) a phenomenon which makes for one interesting salad, no?
So let’s roast some Padrons with olive oil and salt, and then pair them with fresh, cooling tomatoes and a squeeze of lemon. We’ll get a good balance of sweet and spice, salt and citrus and, most importantly, it will be a salad that’s fun to eat. Exciting, even. I mean, we’re 27 years old. Next week we’ll be 28. Let’s get our kicks while we still can, eh?