The farmer’s market at the San Francisco Ferry Building plaza happens on Tuesdays as well as Saturdays! Lucky for me, I work nearby so I can make going on Tuesdays during my lunch time a regular thing. I like strolling there not only because of the market itself but also because I can get a good dose of vitamin D when the fog rolls out and lets the sun shine through. On my way there I traverse Pier 14 where it’s fun to watch the ships sail by and the fisherman attempting to catch sea bass and Dungeness crab. The other day I saw a few of them seize a huge sting ray form the Bay! For a few long minutes two fishermen worked on removing the beautiful monster out of water but later they returned it back to its natural habitat. I wonder what that was about? I hope that the beast was not too traumatized or harmed.
Sea life is so plentiful there. I see flocks of pelicans flying low over the water, sea lions frolicking around, occasional starfish glued to the rocks along the fence on the Embarcadero as well as dark little crabs. At times the water gets crowded with jelly fish too. It is so nice to watch them floating up close to the surface and then sinking back again into the depths of the water, sort of like big parachutes. I like to watch the tourists wandering around; joggers running in their skimpy outfits; dog walkers with their well and occasionally badly behaved canines; the homeless catching some rays, pushing their carts, panhandling and sometimes talking to themselves loudly. I enjoy the fresh briny ocean smell with its mix of sea-vegetables (seaweed), salt water and decomposing matter. It’s a treat being there. The Embarcadero always feels so bubbly and lively. This is a very scenic part of town. Come for a visit during lunch time just to check it out!
Last Tuesday, while at the Farmer’s market, I wandered into this amazing tent where all they sold was peppers! They had peppers of all sizes, shapes and colors. I had seen that tent before but somehow was never drawn to it though I love peppers of all kinds. Strange. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera to take a bunch of shots and post them here. But I did find something I had been looking for: pimientos de Padrón. Most recently I had these tasty peppers at Maverick while celebrating J’s birthday. Since then, I’ve been desperate to find more! They really are that good.
Pimientos de Padrón are tiny, shiny, wrinkled green peppers with flavors that go from sweet to mildly pungent to hot. Individual peppers from the same plant can taste sweet while others hot. You’ll never know until you burst one in your mouth. Sometimes they call this tasting method “Russian Roulette.” It sounds a bit scary, but really, what a pleasing, pleasant surprise! The pepper did not kill me, by the way. Quite the contrary, I want more! Pimientos de padrón come from the New World but were imported to Spain where they became a popular staple in the city of Padrón. It’s still quite popular there, to the point that the town holds its own festival in celebration of Pimientos de Padrón!
The Pimientos de Padrón I got on Tuesday come from Happy Quail Farms. They cost me 6 bucks for I think the equivalent of a pint. It is a bit pricey but so good! I’ve invented the recipe from my memory of how they were served at Maverick.
Pimientos de Padrón
1 bag (about 1 pint) of whole Pimientos de Padrón, rinsed
3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp of Arbequina olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Place olive oil on a pre-heated small skillet. Add pimientos. Place a lid on top to partially cover peppers. Sear them, turning occasionally, till skins are lightly browned and broken. The process will take about 5 minutes. At the last minute add garlic, salt and few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Stir. Serve as an appetizer with beer or wine. You can eat them whole including the stems, if they’re not that large. I am already looking forward to making it again!