Sautéed and Salted Gernika Peppers

by Spicie Foodie on August 26, 2014

Sauteed and Salted Gernika Peppers by @spiciefoodie | #peppers #Spanish #tapas #appetizer

A Spanish pepper named after the Guernica town in Spain’s Basque region, similar looking to padrón chiles, with origins in the New World. That’s what these pretty little chiles are: Pimientos de Gernika. But I din’t travel to Spain to purchase them, I found them in my local grocery store. These were grown in Mexico. So I guess you can say they are the original peppers…before they got their name from the Spanish conquistadors.

Gernika peppers are new to me. Have you ever tasted them? When I grabbed the package I thought they were padrón and I was so excited that I did a happy dance in the store. Much to my husband’s embarrassment, of course. After reading the package I realised they weren’t padrón, I was still excited to try a new pepper. Happy dance not wasted. Apparently there are some differences in the two chiles. For starters, padrón are like Russian roulette, some are sweet and others are spicy. Gernika are always sweet. They differ in size too: padrón are short and gernikas are long. But the differences stop there because they are cooked and eaten in the same way.

Sauteed and Salted Gernika Peppers by @spiciefoodie | #peppers #Spanish #tapas #appetizer

Cooking involves nothing more than a hot pan, a little olive oil, the peppers and a decent sprinkling of sea salt. It is recommended that a small slit is given to each pepper to prevent them from popping or exploding when being fried. Explosive liquids and hot oil are never a fun experience. Be careful. Both the padrón and gernika are served on their own or as part of tapas. This is done to enjoy the flavours to the fullest.

The Gernika, or guernica, peppers known in Spain are said to have lost their spiciness due to the cold mountain climate of the Basque region. Deductive reasoning (d’uh), would lead one to believe that since the onces I purchased are grown in Mexico they would be spicy. Not so. They were very mild. But that’s okay, because what they lacked in heat they more than made up in flavour. The taste is incredible! It’s a bit difficult to explain other than one of the very best pepper flavours one can eat.

Sauteed and Salted Gernika Peppers by @spiciefoodie | #peppers #Spanish #tapas #appetizer

Sautéing chiles always produces flavours that other cooking methods, or leaving the peppers raw, do not bring out. Raw the gernika don’t have much flavour, it reminds me a bit of cubanelle peppers. The texture is crispy and the mild scent it pleasant. After sautéing the chiles have a smokiness smell to them that is very appealing. The taste…think of the most delicious roasted pepper you’ve ever eaten and multiply it. You simply cannot eat just one pepper. I was surprised how fantastic the smell and taste was and I couldn’t stop myself from eating them. My husband felt exactly the same way.

After sautéing the chiles I sprinkled sea salt over them and set on the table with the intention to be an appetiser to our steak dinner. We did begin with them but also started eating alongside the steak and it was a scrumptious match. If you get the opportunity you must give gernika peppers a try. Below are the exact measurements I used to prepare our chiles. Enjoy!

Sauteed and Salted Gernika Peppers by @spiciefoodie | #peppers #Spanish #tapas #appetizer

5.0 from 2 reviews
Sautéed and Salted Gernika Peppers
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A very uniquely tasting pepper from Spain's Basque region. This simple appetiser (tapas) is a must try!
Recipe type: Appetiser, Snack, Tapas
Cuisine: Spanish
  • 24 fresh gernika peppers (the weight is just under 200 gms)*
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • medium coarse sea salt
  1. After rinsing the peppers make a small slit in each one. Heat a pan over medium heat, add the oil and allow to warm up. Place the peppers inside the pan but do not crowd them. Allow each pepper to blister and soften. Remove from pan, into a serving dish and sprinkle sea salt over the chiles. Serve right away.
*If gernika peppers are not available use padron chiles.


Sauteed and Salted Gernika Peppers by @spiciefoodie | #peppers #Spanish #tapas #appetizer

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in European,Snacks,Vegan/Vegetarian,Vegetables

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rosa August 26, 2014 at 7:33 AM

scrumptious! Peppers are so delicious.




2 Spicie Foodie August 27, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Agreed, thanks Rosa!


3 easyfoodsmith August 26, 2014 at 8:52 AM

My dad would love to eat this sauteed peppers. I wonder if I would find their substitute here in India.


4 Spicie Foodie August 26, 2014 at 1:41 PM

I’ve cooked other peppers (with similar size) in the same method and they’ve all tasted amazing. Enjoy!


5 Joanne T Ferguson August 26, 2014 at 8:51 PM

G’day Gorgeous photos as always Nancy and thank you for allowing me to learn something new today!
Cheers! Joanne


6 Spicie Foodie August 27, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Thank you Joanne!


7 mjskit August 26, 2014 at 10:15 PM

Thanks for turning me on to a new chile pepper! I’ve never heard of gernika but now I want to run over to the Mexican market and see if I can find these. Peppers don’t have to be spicy as long as they have a great flavor.


8 Spicie Foodie August 27, 2014 at 10:22 AM

I agree MJ, I like the flavours first then the heat. Hope you find them!


9 Gourmet Getaways August 26, 2014 at 11:43 PM

I love grilled peppers! Do these give out a tinge of hot and spicy taste?

Gourmet Getaways


10 Spicie Foodie August 27, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Hi Julie! These are very mild, but the depth of flavours is where they shine.


11 John@Kitchen Riffs August 27, 2014 at 10:11 AM

This is a new pepper to me — thanks for the intro! I gotta find these so I can do my own happy dance! Thanks.


12 Spicie Foodie August 27, 2014 at 10:21 AM

I hope you do John, lol!:)


13 sippitysup August 27, 2014 at 6:19 PM

I just made the same thing with shishito peppers! Really. GREG


14 Spicie Foodie August 27, 2014 at 7:19 PM

Great minds, Greg!:)


15 Pilar-Enmicocinahoy August 27, 2014 at 9:15 PM

Way before I learned to cook we went to Spain to visit some of my husband’s grand father friends and I remember eating this dish, but never new which kind of peppers where. I’m so happy and thankful. I still think of that meal, it was so simple, but so powerful.
Thanks for the recipe and memories.


16 Spicie Foodie August 27, 2014 at 9:36 PM

Hola Pilar! I’m thrilled that my recipe brought back such beautiful memories for you. Thank you!:)


17 Sandra September 2, 2014 at 6:02 PM

I would love to try these and hope I can find them here. I always learn something new from you Nancy, thank you.


18 Ramona September 4, 2014 at 8:10 AM

Can I eat that entire bowl? You are making me drool early this morning…


19 Victoria of Flavors of the Sun September 17, 2014 at 10:30 AM

In the Bajio particularly, we eat of lot of torreados, or grilled serrano chiles (and often salsa Magi). I haven’t seen Gernikas here, but will be on the lookout. Have eaten them in Spain and remember them as tasty and mild


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