28.4.07

Sweet piquillos


Back at last, and not a minute too soon. I´ve had to give over twenty talks to over one thousand kids. I´m not exaggerating. I had to sign all their books. Gratifying, but after a while I didn´t even recognize my own name on the page. Some of them wanted me to sign their arms, which is pretty weird. I know I should try and enjoy these tiny glimpses into the life of Madonna, but I can´t. I just feel silly.

But anyway, all things come to an end, and here I am. Confronting a fridge containing all sorts of useful things like miso paste, preserved lemons, wasabi, tahini, cassis jelly and lasagna sheets. Nothing much else, though. Yesterday when I finally managed to get off the plane and out of the gleaming and beutiful horror that´s Terminal 4 of our airport, the shops were shut, and this morning I couldn´t face the market on a bustling Saturday morning.

Time to fall back on a tried and trusted store cupboard standby, the piquillo. I don´t think there´s a cupboard in Spain that doesn´t hold at least one jar of these little life savers.

Oil and vinegar, maybe a litle salt, is all you need to make a meal of the sweet and smoky little peppers. If you have a tin of tuna around (I´m sure you do), then we´re in classic tapa territory. With cherry tomatoes the thing rises to heaven.

They´re also a very good option for jazzing up sorry looking jarred pasta sauces. They´ll transform takeaway pizza, boost jars of beans, and put a very different face on leftover chilli or stew. And they nestle very comfortably up to anything you´d think to put in a sandwich, too.

As well as drastically altering the cooking time on all those recipes that begin with "turn up the oven, roast some peppers, peel them, let them cool", which I really appreciate.

What I´ll give you now, though, is in the realm of haute piquillo cuisine. All you need is some sugar and a bit of patience, after which you´ll have a ruby tangle of pepper shreds that will make you swoon, I promise.

Take a jar or tin of piquillos, and a heavy pan, preferably non-stick. Put the peppers from the jar, with their gooey and rather unattractive liquid in the pan. Add sugar at your discretion, but I´d say at least a heaped tablespoonful for each jar. Put the pan over a very low fire, and forget about it. They´ll be done when the liquid has dissappeared. This can take all of three hours or more, so be patient. Try it half way trhough, test for sugar, and add more if you wish.

They are so wonderful that I advise you to do more than you think you´ll need. My aunt Piti, who gave me this recipe, serves them with sirloin steak. I love them on toast, as bruschetta, but they´re delicious on practically anything, as you can imagine.

9 comentarios:

xps dijo...

Por un momento creí que eran pimientos del padrón y n entendía nada.

Pille dijo...

Hmm. Intriguing. Never tried them.. I wonder if I could possibly have somebody bring me a jar, lets say, in August? :)
I had pimientos del padron in London (we bought some from Brindisa), and these were absolutely delightful!!

Chris dijo...

I never tried these either. Sounds almost like how I use capers sometimes. Do you have a brand or suggestion on how to shop for these in the US? I'm sure there somewhere online or in NYC?

lobstersquad dijo...

xps:qué cosas tienes, madre
pille: I think, in fact, I´m pretty sure that that can be arranged! these are nothing like padrón peppers, though. they´re red, you´ll see.
Chris: you´re really missing out, so check out Lydia´s blog the perfect pantry for all the info you need. she has online sources for buying too
http://ninecooks.typepad.com/perfectpantry/2007/01/piquillo_pepper.html

Lydia dijo...

I love piquillos, as you know, but I've never tried them with sugar to balance the tart flavor. What a wonderful idea! I'm going to try this immediately.

Pato dijo...

Chris, in NYC you can get them at "Despaña" in Soho. Online, I get them from www.tienda.com. They have really high quality brands.

Enjoy :)

Y un saludo, Ximena.

janel dijo...

I feel the same about piquillos, they saved my lunch today too. I haven't tried the sugar trick though, I will, sounds great!!

Lisa dijo...

I empathize with you wholeheartedly. While I do nothing so glamorous as sign children's books, I am a librarian who will be talking to just as many teens at their schools this month trying to convince them to join our summer reading program. At least I get to do it over the course of a few weeks instead of just a few days!

oktomanota dijo...

si a mi tambien me paso como el xps , pensaba que eran chiles

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