Have you tried shishito peppers yet? If not, let me introduce you to this flavorful treat! I had them for the first time about a year ago at a friend’s house. Then, I had them not that long ago at Cheers in Fayetteville. Now, that I know how easy they are to sauté, this is my new favorite make-at-home appetizer (or side dish).
Y’all, I’m not exaggerating. There’s a reason shishito peppers is the hot new summer appetizer in all the coolest restaurants.
And by hot, I don’t mean spicy. These Japanese heirloom peppers are crisp and sweet with only a tiny bit of heat.
A game changer for sure.
How Hot is It?
Do you know about the Scoville scale for measuring the spice level of chilies and peppers? On this scale developed by a pharmacologist in 1912, habaneros peppers = 150,000; cayenne = 50,000; jalapeño = 5,000; bell pepper = 0. The shishito ranks somewhere in the rank of 50-200. So it’s considered very mild. (Evidently, occasionally, a single pepper on a shishito plant will be hot while all the others will be mild. A strange factoid to remember. I’ve not had a hot one yet.)
Shishito peppers are 2-3 inches long, bright green, and slightly wrinkled. Their thin skins make for easy sautéing or quick grilling. A little char on the skin really brings out the smoky flavor. When fully ripened, they turn red. You can eat them green or red.
- Shishito Peppers
- Olive Oil
- Sea Salt
- Heat a bit of olive oil in your skillet (about a tablespoon depending on the size of skillet and number of peppers). Let oil and skillet get hot.
- When oil is hot, sauté peppers (stems and all) on medium for 5-10 minutes, slowing turning them and letting the sides char in places. Be patient and don't let them burn. The char brings out the flavor, but the whole pepper doesn't need to be charred.
- Remove. Add sea salt and a squeeze of lime juice.
- Serve immediately.
To Dip or Not to Dip?
At Cheers, shishito peppers are served with a sweet Asian dipping sauce that is mighty tasty. When I make them at home, we eat them without a sauce. I imagine they would be yummy with ranch dressing (of course), but there’s really no need. The flavor stands alone. Part of charm of this pepper is the simplicity and ease in which the shishito can go from the farmer’s market to your mouth. No need to wrap it in bacon, stuff it in cream cheese, smother it in anything.
Your pie hole will be super happy without dressing the shishito up. (Or in this case, your pepper hole.)
We recently had shishitos with New York strips and leftover veggies. So delicious! All of it. (Steak recipe HERE.)
I plan to try my hand at growing shishito peppers next spring. But for now, I buy them at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market. I hear you can buy them at Trader Joe’s (not that we have a Trader Joe’s in Fayetteville), and I imagine Ozark Natural Foods and Whole Foods carries them? August is peak season here in northwest Arkansas.
Are you a fan? If you’ve not tried shishitos, I highly recommend you run out and buy some. Put this appetizer on your menu for the weekend, or better yet, make them tonight. And if you actually grow shishitos, I’d love to hear about your garden experience.
I can’t say YUMMMMM enough.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.