leave your inhibitions at the door
It looks like Shishito peppers are the new Brussels sprouts or kale. You know, that new food trend that everyone’s talking about and is appearing on menus everywhere. I’ve seen them at a few restaurants here in Ann Arbor, which means that they more than likely have been super popular for two or three years on the coasts.
They probably won’t be as ubiquitous as kale or sprouts which are served in a million and three different ways. That’s because there’s only one way to serve them and that’s roasted whole. I suppose pan-fried is technically another way, but it’s still the same concept – a little oil, super hot heat, served whole.
These peppers are so unbelievably awesome that I can down dozens in just a few short minutes. They’re so thin-skinned that they almost melt in your mouth and roasting them brings out smoky flavors with only a hint of that vegetal/herbaceous flavor other peppers have. As far as heat goes, they’re more sweet and mild. I’ve read several articles that say that one out of every fifteen are super hot, but I’ve yet to encounter any of those.
I first had them last year and looked all over to find them in stores. I heard that the Asian markets have them, but I never had any luck on my repeated visits. This past winter I bought some seeds on Amazon and started them indoors. When summer rolled around, I planted eight seedlings into my garden.
Now I’m rolling in them. A very good problem to have.
Roasted Shishito Peppers
It feels really silly even writing this as a regular recipe. There are three easy steps and only three ingredients, with the quantity of peppers being “all of them.” Trust me, you won’t have any leftovers. Padron peppers are very, very similar and substituted here. Then again, you’ll probably run into Shishitos before you do Padrons.
Two of the restaurants that serve them here in town – Mani Osteria and Bigalora – have mega-hot pizza ovens and can have these out to the table in less than five minutes. Luckily, you don’t need one of those.
– As many Shishito peppers you can get your grubby hands on
– Olive oil
– Kosher or Pink Himalayan salt
1 – Stick a cast iron pan or cookie sheet under a broiler as it heats up. You want the pan to be super hot so that you don’t have to flip the peppers.
2 – Toss the peppers in some olive oil and place on hot pan in single layer.
3 – Remove from oven when charred (about 3-4 minutes) and sprinkle with salt
See? Wasn’t that ridiculously easy?