Shishito peppers have been on my mind for a while. I was fascinated as soon as I had heard of this Japanese version of the Spanish Padrón pepper. I kept hearing the legend of how yummy bar snacks magically appeared once these bright green beauties meet with a hot pan, a little oil and a couple of garnishes. I was dying to try them, but life got in the way and I kept forgetting.
Fast forward to about a month ago, when a friend of mine put the word out that she had received some of these gems in her CSA box. She wasn’t interested and decided someone else would appreciate them more than she would. I jumped at the chance, and before I knew it, she was at my house delivering the bright green beauties with a smile! Terri S., you’re an angel.
Like any self-respecting chef /foodie would do, I researched the heck out of the Shishito pepper. I found that, like their Spanish counterparts (remember the Padrón I wrote about above?), Shishito peppers are often eaten tapas style, very simply prepared. I also discovered that these peppers are not very spicy – quite mild, in fact – with a pepper every-so-often fabled to be spicier than the rest of the lot.
This might just be the simplest, quickest recipe I’ve ever posted on my blog. It doesn’t take much to make a beautiful mound of delicious Shisito peppers. They usually take a quick turn (five minutes or so) on a grill – or in a cast-iron pan or a heavy skillet – until they are seared or blistered.
There is so much flavor in these bright green gems, that very little effort is necessary to elevate their flavor to “eleven.” (Yes, as a matter of fact, I am thinking of This is Spinal Tap and Stranger Things.)
The preparation couldn’t be simpler. For pan preparation, heat up a little oil of your choice (I list my favorites in the recipe below), throw in the peppers, get a nice blister going (not too blistered – just enough to bring out the natural smoky flavor), toss in your choice of seasoning or garnish, and serve. For cooking on the grill, toss the peppers in a little oil and seasoning of choice, then lay them on the grate to lightly blister. Some popular choices for seasonings or garnish include sesame seeds and /or sesame oil, fresh garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice, kosher or Maldon salt, or one of my favorites, togarashi powder. One of these days, I’ll post a recipe for homemade togarashi. But in the meantime, this version will work nicely.
Try these flavorful morsels soon. You might find yourself sitting in front of the TV munching on them with a nice tall glass of something ice-cold and refreshing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you how addicting they are!