Anyone up for a game of Russian roulette? Shishito peppers aren’t hot – except for when they are! It’s said that about one in 10 shishito peppers is a devil child spicy – Well, not really THAT hot, but a lot hotter than it’s siblings. Those peppers that get extra light or heat while growing are said to be a bit hotter than the others. You’ll know when you get one…
My boyfriend and I were out to eat at one of our favorite local restaurants, Radar. As is typical for us, we ordered several small plates so that we could sample it all – Oysters, Pork Shoulder, Bluefish Pate, Chicken Under a Brick, and of course, the peppers. The BF took one bite and his eyes watered up – “I’m not sure if I can eat this babe”. In the meantime, I had eaten three already and had to give him the look – “Are you crazy?” That’s when our waitress stepped up and asked – “How is everything? Did you get a hot one yet?” REDEMPTION.
Shishito peppers are slender and wrinkly with thin-skins and a bright green color. Slightly sweet in taste with a delicate texture, they’re like potato chips, you can’t eat just one! You can find these peppers in your local Asian market, farmers markets, and many grocery stores. My local Trader Joe’s just started carrying them as well *bonus* – Shishitos AND cheap wine!!! They’re a cinch to prepare. Just rub them with a little oil and toss them onto a hot grill or skillet to get them charred and blistered. Then sprinkle them with a bit of salt, plus any extra seasonings you might desire, and you’ve got the perfect finger food! Shishitos are great to share at summer parties and barbeques. Grab the stem, pop the pepper into your mouth and enjoy!
In this version, I give the shishitos a sprinkling of togarashi. Togarashi is a Japanese red pepper blend. The exact spices used vary slightly by maker but usually include powdered/flaked red chili pepper, black pepper, sesame seeds, dried mandarin orange peel, nori seaweed flakes, hemp seeds and poppy seeds. It’s available in most Asian markets or online. It’s got a great unique flavor and is typically used to spice up Asian noodle and yakitori dishes. I also sprinkle on some lemon juice on the peppers for some added brightness.
So, are you up for it? I dare you!
Grilled Shishito Peppers
- 1/2 pound shishito peppers washed and thoroughly dried
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon togarashi
- Coarse sea salt such as fleur de sel or Maldon
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
Heat an indoor grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high heat (375°F to 425°F).
Place the peppers in a medium bowl and toss with olive oil; set aside.
When the grill is ready, arrange the peppers in a single layer; reserve the bowl they were in.
Grill the peppers uncovered, turning occasionally, until they charred and blistered, about 6 to 8 minutes total.
Return the peppers to the bowl, and toss with togarashi and salt. Squeeze lemon over peppers, to taste. Serve immediately.
- Puncture each pepper with a small hole before cooking — a fork tine will work just fine. This will allow steam to vent from the peppers as they cook and keep them from splitting.
- Looking for a main course to go along with these ‘lil guys? Try this Sriracha Glazed Salmon.