I noticed some red Shishito hanging, so I decided to fry some up today. The Padron peppers (the two larger peppers in the photo) are quite large now too. From experience, earlier in the season, red Shishito peppers are usually fiery, but later in the season, most of the peppers lose their heat. This was how it was last year.
I fried up the plate of peppers and sure enough, the green Shishito peppers were mild, but the red ones, and the one turning red, were hot. In fact, the red ones were very spicy. While hubs was recovering from his bite, I cut off a substantial piece from the Padron. My brain was switched off, and I put the entire piece in my mouth. I had read that Padron, like Shishito, is a bit like Russian roulette. My entire mouth was screaming and I jumped up and spat it out into the compost bin. I gargled with milk.
I will say that the pepper has a floral note to it, right before the heat smacks you in the face. It’s not a slow-building heat; it comes fast and hard. It’s also not a complex and flavourful heat, like the habanero. The texture of this pepper is also different from the Shishito. The Padron has a thinner skin, and does not have the same crunch factor. Needless to say, I did not love this pepper.
Hubs tried it, but his mouth was recovering from the ripe Shishito. He feels that flavour-wise, the Padron and Shishito are similar, but that the ripe Shishito is even hotter than the Padron. He also prefers the texture of the Shishito over the Padron.
If I could only grow one variety, I would likely stick with the Shishito. It’s a better snack size, with a more interesting shape, and a better texture. I am curious to know if the Padron peppers will mellow out later in the season. I’ll report back.