I had just spent more then a handful of days in the Basque Country with a group of more than inspiring women surrounded by nature, crisp air and the serenity that comes with embracing the countryside. Stepping out of my cab, a stone throw away from La Rambla in Barcelona, almost trampled over by a group of Russians on tour, I think to myself, wait… I’m not ready yet. I lug my bags over the curb and under the view of another tourist, a Chinese this time, taking a photo of his beautiful family and check myself into my hotel. I freshen up grab my fedora hat and off I go to get out of the city. One ticket to Sitges please – the easiest and only town I know closest to Barcelona. After taking the wrong train, I don’t get the Spanish train system, I arrive to something more quaint, white low buildings, winding alleyways and the sounds of the beach not far away. Tourists? Yes, but nothing compared to Barcelona. Walking along the beach, a smile appears on my face as I take in the breeze and the blues of the water. I perch myself on a café stool, hungry from all the commute and browse through the menu for comfort food. My eyes and heart stopped at a plate of fried Padron peppers. A dish a didn’t grow up with, a dish I never knew existed 9 days prior and yet is my comfort food. Tied to it, beautiful memories I had in the Basque. As I pluck each warm pepper from its stem while enjoying a cool beer and salami along the beach, the feeling of comfort sets. A few hours later, happily tanned, that beautiful bronze Mediterranean tan, I begin to gather my things and enjoy my last moments of Sitges. Finally reaching Barcelona after getting off on the wrong stop, I still don’t get the train system, I strategize ways of getting as much peppers as I can back to Dubai. 7 am the next morning, positioned at the center of the farmer’s market, I’m loading up on peppers before catching my 10 am flight back to Dubai. If you do get your hands on some Padron peppers, please remember sharing is caring (just kidding… or am I?) try out this recipe, it couldn’t be simpler and is wonderful with some cheese and salami. Love, Tala Ingredients: 500 g fresh padron peppers 1 cup olive oil ½ tablespoon coarse salt Preparation: Wash the peppers in cool water and dry thoroughly. Keep the stems on the peppers. Add the olive oil to a deep pan and let the oil heat up, around 3 minutes. Add a handful of peppers to the oil and cook for a round 3 minutes and turn occasionally so both sides are evenly cooked. Spoon out the peppers and place them on a paper towel. Repeat the above until all the peppers are cooked. Place the peppers in a serving bowl add the salt and serve warm.
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