Chef Ben Ford has a neat party trick: feeding everyone with a gigantic grill-centric outdoors feast. Dozens of people, typically with a whole animal. Chef Ford’s formidable new cookbook, Taming the Feast, is the ultimate guide to hardcore al fresco entertaining — this is no garden party.
Need an easy, flavorful and light appetizer to keep the crowd in check while the whole pig roasts? These quick-charred padrón peppers are sweet and fiery, seasoned simply with crunchy sea salt and lemon. You can use shishito peppers (found at Asian markets) if you can’t find padróns, but any sweet and mildly spicy pepper will do.
- 1 pound fresh padrón peppers, or a combination of small mild peppers, stems on
- 1/2 cup olive oil, or as needed
- 3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- kosher salt
- 1 lemon, halved, for squeezing
- flaky sea salt
- Rinse the peppers under cold water and dry them thoroughly.
- Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
- Pour in enough of the oil to cover the bottom of a large cast-iron skillet to about 1/4 inch deep, about 1/4 cup.
- Heat the oil over high heat until it shimmers and slides easily in the pan, about 2 minutes.
- Add the peppers in a single layer, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
- Season the peppers with kosher salt and sauté them for about 3 minutes, turning them with tongs, until they are browned all over and wilted.
- Transfer the peppers to paper towels.
- Cook the rest of the peppers the same way, adding more oil to the pan as necessary and heating the oil before adding the peppers.
- Squeeze lemon juice over the peppers, sprinkle them with flaky salt and serve.
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