When I was fifteen – some decades ago – I went on a Spanish exchange to a family who lived in Jaén in Andalusia in the south of Spain. During the unbearably hot summer months they moved out to a country house about 40 minutes outside the city. I was not very interested in cooking in those days but one of my favourite things to eat was the fried green peppers made by my friend’s mother. One of my favourite things to do was to sit and chat to her as she made them in the white-tiled, unfitted kitchen over a gas-bottle-fuelled hob. I watched her make them so many times that I picked up the ‘method’ without even consciously meaning to. What’s so intriguing is that you end up with slightly crispy, caramelised skin punctuated by the crunchy salt crystals, but you still have the juicy flesh on the other side all enveloped in the musky olive oil. It was they who introduced me to Maria Dolores Pradera.
Any green pepper will do but if you were being ‘foodie’ and you enjoy living dangerously you might use padrón peppers which come from Galicia in the north-west of Spain and are smaller with a stronger taste than the normal green capiscums. But that’s for another blog.
For some reason red, orange or yellow peppers don’t work as well for this method.
This is what to do:
- get some olive oil good and hot in a deep frying pan
- take out the pips of the green pepper and slice it into 2cm/1″ slivers
- drop them into the pan and move around, turn over with a holey fish slice for five to ten minutes. They should begin to blister.
- take out of the pan with the fish slice, leaving excess oil to drain out through the holes and put onto a warm plate
- sprinkle with smoked salt, or with salt flakes.
This post is dedicated to Emilia Quilez Alvarez