Jill Dupleix

Pimientos del Padron with chorizo.
Pimientos del Padron with chorizo. Photo: Edwina Pickles. Food: Jill Duple

What are they?

Small green peppers, originally cultivated by monks in the Padron region of north-west Spain, and traditionally served as a tapa with a drink. They're sweet and mild - until a bit later in the season, when every one in 10 is amazingly, surprisingly hot, and eating them is a game of Russian roulette.

Where are they?

In Melbourne, padron peppers are on the bar food menu of multi-culti diner Neapoli, alongside spanakopita and pan-fried sardines. ''People either love them or hate them,'' says Neapoli chef Sam Kenway. ''They have very delicate flesh that melts in the mouth, and an almost savoury-sweet taste.''

In Sydney, Spanish-influenced wine bar Foley Lane keeps things simple with a quick toss in hot olive oil and a good lashing of sea salt. ''You want them to be all blistered and melting, so they're soft and sweet,'' says co-owner Julian Marchetto. ''It's fun to see people's reactions when they get a hot one.''

Why do I care?

Because we've just hit the start of the local season (from now until April), so look for them - and very similar Guernica pimientos - at Spanish specialists, online, and at your local tapas bar.

Can I do them at home?

Yes, just fry in olive oil, toss with sea salt and eat with the fingers, or scatter over paella, steak, chorizo, calamari, pork and fish.

Sourcing

Order online from Midyim Eco Produce, Conondale, Qld 07 5472 4102 midyimeco.com.au or from Nomad Distribution, noon-3pm Mon & Wed, 12A Rodborough Road, Frenchs Forest 02 8197 2024, NomaDistribution.com.au.

VIC: Neapoli, 30 Russell Place, Melbourne, 03 9650 5020

NSW: Foley Lane, 371 Bourke Street, Darlinghurst, no phone.

Pimientos del Padron with chorizo

Some people like them cooked only until lightly blistered and still green, others love them soft and wilted - your call.

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 fresh chorizo sausages, sliced

400g padron peppers

1 tsp sea salt

1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a non-stick frypan, and fry the sliced chorizo on both sides until cooked, then remove to a warm plate.

2. Add remaining olive oil to the pan, and fry the peppers over medium heat for around 3 minutes until blistered.

3. Return the chorizo to the pan, toss well, scatter with sea salt and serve immediately with something delicious to drink.

Serves 4 as tapa