Have ya’ll had shishito peppers before?
Usually they are served at Asian restaurants and come out crackling hot on a plate as an appetizer. Shishito peppers are finger-sized, green, (but sometimes red) mild peppers with a delicious flavor and delicately thin skin which make them perfect to simply blister in a hot skillet, oven or over a smoky grill and snack on as an appetizer.
We are growing shishitos in our garden this year and being rather excited about it, I watched the first lonely pepper that appeared recently begin to lengthen a tad every day.
Finally last Saturday morning while Mr. Wonderful was at work, I whipped myself up a garden omelet with sauteed kale, peppers, cherry tomatoes and onions from the garden and a light sprinkling of goat cheese inside and a side of perfectly cooked turkey bacon. I took that first prized pepper and toasted it on a lightly olive oiled iron skillet until the skin charred on all sides in places, sprinkled it with pink Himalayan sea salt and feasted on the entire mess as if I was royalty.
If you garden, you know what it is to watch a vegetable hang on the vine, impatiently watching for days and then snapping it off like a coveted trophy to bring inside and cook it up. In a few short weeks, we’ll have peppers coming out of our ears, but this day, one little perfect pepper sufficed to make me smile with pleasure.
Imagine my extreme surprise and joy when I walked into our local Sprouts store a few days later and saw a giant bag of shishitos in the fresh produce section. I took them home, blistered them and while we made some yummy Thai Green Curry Seafood Stew and Potstickers that night, we nibbled on them in the kitchen.
To make Blistered Shishito Peppers you can do them several ways. First off just a warning, if you don’t want them snapping and popping on you, prick each one first with a sharp knife or fork so they won’t puff up and pop, splattering you with hot oil. Then, simply toss them on a grill pan and make them outdoors on your BBQ grill, or skewer them and do the same. You can blister them on a hot skillet barely rubbed with a bit of olive oil right on a smoking hot smove top or you can do like I did and toss the whole lot of them into the oven and broil them until the skin partially blisters black on both top and bottom Remove them from the oven, sprinkle them with some good coarse salt like sea salt, or fleur de sel or Maldon and for an added touch of wonder, try adding a sprinkle of a seasoning called togarashi, a blended spice of chiles used in Japanese cuisine.
With or without the togarashi, you’ll love the Blistered Shishito Peppers and just to warn you, it’s a bit like playing Russian Roulette. One in ten peppers is said to be hot, although I popped seven or eight in my mouth without issue and then Mr. Wonderful tried his first and said “that’s HOT”.
The luck of the draw.
Eat them quickly while they are hot and crispy as they wilt rather quickly after removing them from the heat! You can serve them with a simple dipping sauce made of 1/2 cup of greek yogurt mixed with 1 teaspoon of smoky chipotle and adobe sauce from a can of smoky peppers.
Anyway, I now have several more peppers popping up on my shishito plants, and I cannot wait to find new uses for them in cooking. Whether you try the stove top method to avoid turning on your oven or roast them in the oven or char them on your BBQ grill, you’ll adore these crispy little darlings as much as we do!