Spains No1 Pintxo The Gilda - “Dirty, Charming, and Spicy”

Spains best known and most popular Pintxo. Simple and all about the quality of the ingredient. The guindilla pepper. This pintxo is part of the Basque identity. It is also delicious, it can be made in no time and it needs hardly any cooking skills to master it. It can be found in almost any Basque bar, where it is often presented in large bowls. The recipe is very traditional; however, each chef prepares it with their own flare. Some add pickled cucumbers and red chili peppers.

The gilda supposedly originated at the bar Casa Vallés in San Sebastian in the 1940s. It is named after the Rita Hayworth film of the same name, which was one of the few films to pass through censorship in post-Civil War Spain of the 1940s. The pintxo was described as “verde, salado, y picante.” This literally means “green, salty, and spicy” but can also mean “dirty, charming, and spicy”— characteristics much like Hayworth’s titular character.





















Instructions

  1. How can you use these chillies?ave a relatively sweet flavour, but the pickling vinegar of choice for guindilla peppers impacts the eating experience even more. Guindillas are typically pickled in white wine vinegar, providing a crisp and tart flavour quite different than the bold tang of chillies pickled in traditional white vinegar. It’s a surprisingly delicate flavour for a pickled pepper..the spice of choice for many traditional Basque meals...

  2. Start by skewering the pickle.

  3. Thread the anchovy again so that it wraps the guindilla savouries.

  4. Skewer two bits of guindilla.

  5. Thread the anchovy again so that it wraps the guindilla savories.

  6. Cap off the cocktail stick with the olive.

  7. Dress with a generous amount of olive oil and serve.

Gilda skewers are one of the most famous Basque pintxos (tapas). In Spain, they are made with anchovies, Mancanilla olives (ideally stuffed with anchovies), and pickled piparra peppers, a Basque pepper, which are hard to find here. Use pepperoncini instead.

Perfect pickled, crisp and tart…


Scoville heat units (SHU): 1,000 – 2,000 Jalapeño reference point: Near equal to 8 times milder Origin: Spain (Basque Region). It can be found in almost any Basque bar, where it is often presented in large bowls. The recipe is very traditional; however, each chef prepares it with their own flare. Some add pickled cucumbers and red chilli peppers.

The guindilla pepper is a favourite chili in the Basque region of Spain. With a gentle spice and a narrow elongated frame, the guindilla is popular pickled in white wine vinegar and served as tapas or as a side with wine and cheese. Or try the guindilla (or a few) as the food of choice in an extra spicy Bloody Mary.


How hot are guindilla peppers?


Guindillas are mild chilies with a Scoville heat range from 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville heat units(SHU). That’s slightly hotter than the popular banana pepper (0 to 500 SHU) and two to eight times milder than PepperScale’s reference point, the jalapeño pepper. It’s a heat that most everyone can enjoy, making the guindilla a popular appetizer choice for family gatherings and social events.


How can you use these chillies?


Guindilla peppers are perfect as a tapas pepper. The pickling in white wine vinegar makes them a perfect pairing with wine and cheese. And they make an excellent speared bar snack (called pincho in Spanish or pintxo in the Basque region). A popular option: the Gilda pintxo which spears guindilla pepper with a salt-cured anchovy and an olive. And let’s not forget how well they can spice up the famous Bloody Mary cocktail. The guindilla’s length and thin frame makes them perfect to use as an alternative to (or complement to) to celery in the Bloody Mary. Add a little of the guindilla white wine vinegar brine in as a well to provide a little tartness.

What does guindilla mean?

Guindilla simply means chili or hot pepper in Spanish, and that, of course, leads to confusion in regard to these jarred chilies. You’ll find many varieties of chili being referred to as guindilla. For clarification – guindilla peppers, as we refer to them here, are also called piparras. You’ll find them labelled as either guindilla or piparras when jarred.

What do guindilla peppers look like?


These are narrow and long chilies, like cayenne (but of course without the heat). Guindilla are typically picked for pickling when young, so you most commonly see them green to yellowish green in colour. Though, red guindilla also have good use in the kitchen – they’re terrific dried and crushed into flakes for a mild and sweet alternative to common chili pepper flakes, and, as such, are the spice of choice for many traditional Basque meals.


What do guindilla peppers taste like?


Guindilla peppers themselves have a relatively sweet flavour, but the pickling vinegar of choice for guindilla peppers impacts the eating experience even more. Guindillas are typically pickled in white wine vinegar, providing a crisp and tart flavoor quite different than the bold tang of chilies pickled in traditional white vinegar. It’s a surprisingly delicate flavour for a pickled pepper.


How can you use these chilies?


Guindilla peppers are perfect as a tapas pepper. The pickling in white wine vinegar online if you prefer to grow them yourself. It’s more likely, though, the pickled variety you are seeking, and jarred guindilla peppers can be found at speciality stores. And let’s not forget how well they can spice up the famous Bloody Mary cocktail. The guindilla’s length and thin frame make them perfect to use as an alternative to (or complement to) to celery in the Bloody Mary. Add a little of the guindilla white wine vinegar brine in as a well to provide a little tartness.

Where can you buy guindilla peppers?


Buying them fresh can be a challenge, though you can pick up guindilla pepper seeds online if you prefer to grow them yourself. It’s more likely, though, the pickled variety you are seeking, and jarred guindilla peppers can be found at specialty stores and they’re easily sourced online, as well. Look for either guindilla or piparras on the label.

If you’re looking for an easy and quick tapas, the guindilla pepper is a terrific solution, providing a mildly spicy, slightly sweet, and delicately tart foil to other finger foods. Once you’ve tried them, they’ll no doubt become a staple treat.


Thanks for reading. I'd love to know if you gave it a try and what you thought, leave us a message in the comments below.


I blog/vlog about everything PintxoTapas, the past and the future trends from San Sabastian being driven by Michelin starred chefs.


I am a self-taught semi-professional chef working in a 300 cover restaurant in Surrey UK. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved, or sometimes not but you've got to push the boundaries. Inspired by cookbooks, other food blogs, TV chefs, and family recipes.


​I try to make practical PintxoTapas recipes available on this site that can bring your family and friends together for an informal, but an amazing adventure into the world of Pintxo. As well as writing, I work on my YouTube channel and with suppliers to produce all sorts of video content, from interviews, how-to guides and recipe guides.








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