Blistered Shishito Peppers

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When I saw these at the stand this past week, I had a flashback to how much I loved them as appetizers at Japanese restaurants. Shishito peppers are a pepper that comes from East Asia, known for its unforgettable crunch and novelty. These are unique because they aren’t sweet like bell peppers, but you cannot necessarily call them spicy. While they are not typically hot, there is a rumor that one in every 8-10 peppers has a small kick. The amount of heat in the shishito depends on factors like sunlight and temperature, but I have only encountered one or two spicy ones in my lifetime. Another feature and my favorite that makes these special is that you eat them completely whole. You use the stem as a place to hold and eat them like finger food, seeds, and all. The seeds add to that desirable crunch.

Right now, these fresh shishitos are coming from our farm, which is in Howard County, MD. Our farm is up by Mt.Airy, about a 45-minute drive from Montgomery County. I made this dish for a sunny afternoon backyard snack, and we cleaned the plate within 10 minutes. With their simple ingredients to complement the aromatic flavor, all you need for garnish is a slice of lemon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of shishito peppers (about 5 oz)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Coarse sea salt or diamond salt
  • Several wedges of lemon

Directions:

1. Heat the vegetable oil and sesame oil on a pan on medium-high. Wait several minutes for the oil to get sufficiently hot. Add peppers and you should hear a light sizzle when they touch the oil.

2. Shake the peppers once to coat them in the hot oil. Allow them to sit undisturbed on the pan for about 3 minutes. They will begin to char on the bottom. Flip and char for another 3 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and put directly on your serving dish. Sprinkle a generous amount of coarse salt (the coarser the better!) and a douse of lemon juice for added zest.

Eat these while they are still very hot!

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