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In Spain I had a wonderful tapa called Pimiento de Padron. Green chiles fried in olive oil and salted. What type of chile could I find in the US to replicate this dish? The chiles should be mild, with the odd spicy one.

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From which province of Spain you know them? I remember these from Galicia! We also made them ourselves in Spain from the pimientos buyed at the market! They are simply genial. –  Tomas Sep 8 '11 at 23:29
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@Tomas they are from Galicia, which is where Padrón is, but are famous all over Spain, and abroad as this t-shirt tries to state. –  J.A.I.L. Nov 4 '12 at 2:40
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3 Answers 3

Russian roulette peppers!

Not sure if there is a good substitute you can buy already grown?

If you live near a warm coast try growing your own. Good seed suppliers (Johnnyseeds, LocalHarvest etc - Peperone Padron in NZ from italianseedspronto) should be able to help, or check Ebay or Amazon

Peperone Padron

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Sounds like it: Russian roulette, great name. Lately the pimientos I'm having are more spicy than mild. Very spicy. –  BaffledCook Sep 12 '11 at 18:51
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I haven't seen these on sale , and doubt if anything else has the shock effectof the odd hot one. However, I've grown these from seed this year in an unheated greenhouse, and had good yields. I plant 3 to a 7ins pot and stake, water and fertilise them like tomatoes. Haven't tried them yet, but they certainly look good!

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When I've had the dish (and yes, it was in Galicia; Santiago de Compostela, to be exact), I'd say they all had heat to them, just a few had some natural variations that you always get with peppers. (eg, some jalapeños are hotter than others).

It's also likely affected that the peppers are picked for size, not ripeness, so it's possible that the riper (hotter) peppers are mixed in with the others ... and to get 'em picked early, you're either going to need your own plants, as TFD and Stuart have mentioned, or make friends with your local farmer. If you're growing more than one variety of peppers you might try planting most in with mild peppers, and one surrounded by lots of hot peppers to see if you can improve the variability of the heat.

If growing your own (or convincing a local farmer) aren't options, I'd go with a low-heat smaller pepper ... Pepperoncini might work, but it it's 100-500 scoville, so it doesn't have the extreme range of the Padrón. If you could find hungarian wax & banana peppers that are of a similar size and shade, you might go with a mix of the two, but they're not going to be of the one-bite size like the Padrón.

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Gal*i*cia. Most of the ones which make their way to the other side of Spain seem to have no more heat than a bell pepper. You were lucky. –  Peter Taylor Sep 10 '11 at 6:03
    
@Peter : oops .. sorry, my spelling sucks. –  Joe Sep 12 '11 at 13:48
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