My younger sister, Annie, happened to be studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain during my first three months overseas. The first time we met up, we decided to go to Madrid for the weekend. Annie had met a girl named Maria on her flight to Spain who just so happened to be from Madrid, and she invited us to stay at her house. We had so much fun. Maria is so wonderful and her family was incredibly welcoming. Her father even showed me how to make a Spanish tortilla and gazpacho-and they were outstanding.
One of our nights with Maria, she brought us to a little bar and we met up with her friends and boyfriend. We drank beers and were brought little plates of patatas allioli, Russian salad (which is, incidentally, a Spanish dish!), and mussels cooked with diced bell peppers.
A few months later, I went to Madrid again because my parents had decided to fly out and see us! We had a few great meals, but this one tapa has stuck out in mind ever since.
Cooked in a clay dish, it consisted of three layers. On top, my all-time favorite tapa: pimientos de Padron. I wish I could get these chile peppers here in the States! They are savory, salty, juicy and sometimes fiery spicy. My sister once ate one so spicy that she started hiccuping and tears formed in her eyes- our waiter literally sprinted inside and got her a bottle of water, insisting it was on the house! So nice.
The second layer of this dish was chorizo, and it had become nuanced with the pimento flavor. At the very bottom of the dish, soft and exploding with flavor from the other two layers, was potato. It was so simple, yet I'd never seen anything like it. The flavors mingled together beautifully and now, more than a year later, I can still remember exactly how it tasted. I might even say it was the best thing I ate in Spain.
Now, unfortunately, if it is possible to find pimientos de Padron here in Boston, I don't know about it. I hemmed and hawed about what sort of chiles to use that wouldn't be too spicy to handle but would be small enough to use. I finally gave up and just used Anaheims, which are pretty mild, but large. I also sliced them up. If you can find a small, not searingly spicy chile, go ahead and keep them whole!
Pimientos, Chorizo y Patatas
2 Anaheim chile peppers, in thick rings
2 cooking chorizo sausages, sliced
1 large potato, cut in about quarter inch thick slices
PreparationPreheat your oven to 400F. (About 200C)
Use a small, ovenproof dish. Coat the bottom with a thin layer of water. (This will help keep the potatoes soft.)
Coat the sliced potatoes with olive oil, some salt, and paprika. Spread out over the dish.
Put the sliced chorizo over the potatoes for your second layer.
Coat the chile peppers with olive oil and plenty of salt. Arrange as the top layer.
Pop into the oven and cook for about 45 minute to an hour, or until the potatoes are soft and the chiles are roasted.
This dish is absolutely irresistible. You will be astounded by how flavorful the potatoes become. And your kitchen will smell incredible.
This could feed four as part of a larger meal.