Monday, June 6, 2011

A Pickled Peck of Padron Peppers - Twist Your Tongue with Flavor

While I was at the inaugural Atlanta Food & Wine Festival a few weeks ago, I attended a demo by Donald Link, on the topic of working with hot peppers. When Link told the crowd he's used over 150 different varieties of peppers, we knew we were listening to the right dude.

During the presentation Chef Link made a quick and colorful batch of pickled peppers, and while they did look great, it was the vinegar they were brined in that really caught my attention. 

The James Beard Award winning chef said that every station in his kitchens have some of this spicy vinegar in it, and that this magic potion is used liberally in all kinds of things; rice, dressings, and marinades, just to name a few.

So, when Michele came home last week with a bag of oversized Padron peppers, I decided to give this a whirl. I was in one of those 'don't do any research before you start' moods, and just went for it. I decided to use vinegar and sugar, but no salt.

I know salt, and lots of it, is found in virtually all pickling brines, but I wanted to see what would happen if it was omitted. Since I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to use this vinegar on or in, I thought that would give me more flexibility

Of course, the only problem with an experiment like this is I have to wait a few weeks, at least, to taste my creation. I'm not a patient person, but hopefully I'll be rewarded. If you can't find Pardon peppers (see bonus coverage below), then any small fresh pepper will work, especially jalapeno or red Fresno chilies. Enjoy! 

Disclaimer: Like I said in the video, this is an experiment. Try this at your own risk!

Enough peppers to almost fill a quart jar
3 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
4 cloves garlic, peeled, halved
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Bonus Padron Pepper Coverage!

Padron peppers are such a fascinating fruit (yes, like tomatoes, they are technically a fruit), and I covered them in way more detail in this post I did last August. I've posted the video below, but I encourage you curious culinarians to go check out the full post here. Enjoy!

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