Calle Maquinista 17, 08003 Barcelona, Spain (La Barceloneta)
OK. I’ll admit it. Most of my time in Barcelona was spent either eating tapas or searching for the ultimate house of tapas in which to dine. I’ve always enjoyed tapas. I’m indecisive by nature, and having a little taste of many things is such a great way to combat my atrocious FOMO (fear of missing out).
Truth be told, I don’t think Can Ramonet is the ultimate house of tapas, especially not in the more modern experimental sense, however, it is well worth a mention for those keen to experience traditional-style tapas in a historic setting.
It was a glorious evening when we set out along the beach toward the Barceloneta neighbourhood. Elegant birds were silhouetted against a soft pink Mediterranean sunset as we meandered through the narrow back streets to a public square echoing with the melodic laughter of local children. The glow of soft lights welcomed us into the 250-year-old building, rich with centuries of association with fine wine and food.
Sitting around large oak-barrel tables, we ordered a combination of dishes ranging from local seafood like ‘Navaja’s ala plancha’, (grilled razor clams) to the standard ‘Patatas bravas’ (fried potato in spicy sauce). The wine list was extensive and we opted for a local 2007 ‘Fra Gruerau’ made with traditional Montsant grapes, and named after a twelfth-century monk with miraculous powers.
I began to speculate about whether these powers included the ability to intuit which of the Padrón peppers would take your breath away. Padrón peppers are my favourite. I am addicted to chilli and turned on by taking risks. They are the Russian roulette of tapas—one in ten packs a serious punch—and there is no way to find out until it hits your tongue.
Can Ramonet’s fare was of a consistent quality, perfect for tasting the rich history of ‘tapas’ culture in an atmospheric setting.
Now, for fun, if you can track down these peppers outside of Spain, here’s a Padrón peppers recipe:
As the goal is to lightly char the outside of the peppers, a very hot cast iron skillet is ideal for cooking, however any non-stick frying pan will also do the job!
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
- 2 tsp. grape-seed, vegetable, or canola oil (any oil with a reasonably high smoke point—olive oil is not the answer in this case)
- 250g (1/2 lb.) Pimientos de Padrón
- Salt (coarse sea salt is best)
- Before adding oil, heat the pan until super hot— so hot a drop of water should evaporate with a hiss upon contact. Add oil, swirl to cover the surface, then add the peppers. Fry the peppers without moving them until they blister and lightly brown on one side—around 2 minutes. Then, stir and continue to cook til the peppers are evenly blistered all over and soft to the bite—around 1 minute more.
- Remove the peppers from the pan to a serving dish, sprinkle with a liberal amount of sea salt, and serve immediately.
Photography and article by Aurora Jane