Cheap Eat of the Week: Patria’s blistered peppers
About one in four padrón peppers are spicy (Image: Gizelle Lau)
Curtained and hidden away down a small walkway, behind dramatic black iron gates, Patria is not the easiest spot to find on King West, but it’s meant to be that way — like the many Spanish tapas and pintxos bars in Barcelona.
Among the many classic Spanish bite-sized dishes available at Patria — like the salted marcona almonds ($6), the pan con tomate with Spanish anchovies ($6) or the ham croquettes ($8) — I always go for the blistered peppers, otherwise known as the pimientos de padrón ($7). These are padrón or shishito peppers that have been fried on high heat until the outside is blistered; they’re then finished with a touch of sea salt.
The small green peppers, from the town of Padrón, Spain, are sweet with a mild, barely-there heat — usually. As our waiter cheekily pointed out, about one in four of these peppers are particularly spicy.
Tempting the fates, I bit into one after the next until the sixth, when I had to reach for my glass of verdejo. The sting lasts only a few seconds, but oh what a sting.
Patria, 478 King St. W., 416-367-0505
Gizelle Lau is a food/travel writer and photographer in Toronto who lives from one meal to the next. Her column, Cheap Eat of the Week, highlights dishes that costs $10 or less. Follow her on Twitter for your daily dose of food from in/around the city.