I don’t know about you, but I’m always trying to find, or create, easy appetizer recipes. Well, easy any kind of recipes. I don’t feel like spending my entire life in the kitchen. These blistered shishito peppers might just be the easiest appetizer recipe you can whip up and put out. Okay, it’s a bit more complicated than unwrapping a block of cheese, shoving a knife in it and plopping it on the table next to a pile of grapes…but it’s not much more complicated than that.
Shishito peppers have been popping up on restaurant, and gastro pub, menus since about 2009. Those crazy looking little green peppers have been roasted, grilled, pan fried, deep fried and lightly toasted then tossed with sea salt, a bunch of other seasonings and/or stuffed with cheeses and meats from East to West coasts. And people have been inhaling them about as fast as they hit the table.
What’s so special about these peppers? Let’s face it…they’re wrinkly little green peppers – what’s the big deal?
Not being a fan of green peppers, I wondered that too. Here’s the deal. They’ve got really thin skins that take to all those different cooking methods brilliantly. While they taste familiar (green pepper-ish) they don’t have the bite of a regular green bell pepper. They’re full of little seeds, but when cooked, they soften as much as the inside of the pepper. The outside is also soft, but it gets a little crunchy too.
Because shishito peppers have such a thin skin and mild flavor, they take really well to just about any kind of seasoning you throw on them. And you definitely want to toss some kind of seasoning on them. Match up the seasonings to whatever libations you’ll be serving them with. (They’re a great bar snack!)
While nosing around one of my favorite Asian markets, I picked up a jar of wasabi furikake (a dried flaky mixture of salt, wasabi, sesame seeds, bonito, seaweed, horseradish, green tea powder and a bunch of other stuff) which I then liberally tossed into my blistered shishito peppers along with some crunchy Maldon sea salt.
I somehow managed to stop stuffing these little peppers into my mouth and took some pictures. I proceeded to eat a few more (good thing Craig was out of town or I would have had to share) before moving on to my next project. Later, I chopped up the leftover peppers and tossed them into some soba noodles and scrambled eggs. So not only do these blistered shishito peppers belong in your easy appetizer recipes file, but also in your “what the hell am I going to make for dinner” recipe files.
Shishito peppers are in season right now, so you may be able to swipe some from your neighbors garden (probably not the best idea to serve them to same neighbors if they happen to pop over for cocktails), find them at your local farmer’s market or pick them up at an Asian grocery store. If you can’t find shishito peppers, you may be able to find Padron peppers (a similar Spanish pepper) that you can use the same way.
But why pay $6 for a bowl of these delicious munchies at some stupid hipster bar when you can make them at home and save the circulation in your legs by being able to nosh on these in your pj’s instead of those stupid super straight legged pants you have to wear in order to gain entry to the local hipster bar. And I also suggest you make a lot of these little munchies if you’ll be expected to share and not hoard them all to yourself.
*If you season these with Furikake, they aren’t vegetarian anymore (bonito is fish).
- ⅓ Pound Shishito Peppers
- 1 - 1½ Tablespoons Olive Oil
- ¼ of Whole Lemon
- Sea Salt
- Rinse and clean peppers (leave stems attached).
- Pour oil into heavy skillet (preferably cast iron).
- Heat over medium high heat.
- Once oil is hot, carefully add peppers to the pan and let sit for a couple of minutes.
- Carefully toss the peppers every 2-3 minutes until skins are charred and blistered to your liking. (Be careful tossing peppers as they will spit and hiss and hot oil will be kind of flying all over.)
- Once done to your liking, squeeze lemon over top of peppers in the pan.
- Remove peppers to serving bowl and toss with salt and Furikake seasoning (or whatever type of seasoning you'll be using).
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