Their name means "little beaks" and it's easy to see why. This diminutive and sharply-tapered variety of chili pepper is one of the stars of the Spanish table. Have you ever tried them?
These peppers are simultaneously sweet, spicy, and smoky thanks to some time spent over wood fires after harvesting. The slow-roasting also cooks away much of the water in the pepper, concentrating and intensifying the natural flavors.
Piquillos are primarily grown in the Navarra region in Northern Spain, but are canned and shipped all over the world. They're surprisingly easy to find in the gourmet food section of most grocery stores. Look on the label for the Seal of Authenticity or Denomination of Origin, both of which indicate that the peppers were grown and produced in Northern Spain.
Piquillos can be used for many things from soups to sandwiches, but I think they have the most appeal when stuffed. Their flesh is meaty and holds up well under canning. So long as you handle them gently, it's easy to stuff these bite-sized peppers with goat cheese, crab salad, a spoonful of spiced grains, or whatever your heart desires.
Here are a few recipes to get your creative gears turning:
• Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Goat Cheese from Martha Stewart
• Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Salt Cod Puree from Saveur
• Sausage, Arugula, and Piquillo Pepper Sandwiches from Epicurious
Have you ever made anything with these peppers?
Related: Batch Roasting: How to Roast Several Peppers at Once
(Images: Amazon.com and Martha Stewart)