Last week the New York Times had an article about green peppers (login required), leading with the vegetal bell pepper most foul, the ubiquitous supermarket variety that plagued my every hamburger as a child. Then the article got into the good greens like jalapeños and padrons.
With the full name pementos de Padrón, the latter come from the Galicia area of Spain. They taste like a not-very-spicy-and-ever-so-slightly-sweet jalapeño, but that isn't giving them enough credit. Until recently, all you could have of pementos de Padron in America were your memories of Barcelona, where after a few cold cañas of local brew in 90-degree heat they become magic, the same way people always say that wine tastes better in Italy.
You can buy pementos de Padron locally at The Spanish Table (1426 Western Ave., 682-2827) at $7.49 for a 4-ounce, appetizer-sized bag. Right now the shop is in between suppliers, but the next shipment will hail from Oregon. In Spain, these peppers are enjoyed fried and enjoyed by the plateful. Crank a burner up to medium high and use a good, heavy sauté pan. Once it's hot, barely cover the bottom of a pan in half olive and half corn oil (or vegetable oil, just so it doesn't smoke). Throw in the peppers and roll them in the pan a bit so they don't stick. Leave them alone until they start to blister; then turn them so they get soft and blistered all over. Once the padrons have shrunken and the skin is to your liking, remove and sprinkle with really good salt.
Brandon Pettit, owner/chef of brand-new Delancey (1415 N.W. 70th, also so hot right now) features pardons on his favorite pizza. He says, "We roast them in the wood-fired oven toss them with some gray salt and then tear them into pieces and put them on a pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and grana [an aged cheese]."