An amazing, fun & delicious EASY appetizer and side dish – these charred peppers are addictive and healthy!
When pan-roasted the skin of the shishito pepper becomes blackened, resulting in an amazing smoky flavor.
Pick one up and nibble to the stem!
These Super-Trendy Peppers are on many restaurants menus as they are a wonderful, easy pick up appetizer and perfect for sharing. Restaurants love ’em because they take just a few minutes to prepare and can be seasoned to a chef’s whim.
Today, I’m seasoning the Shishitos with Sesame Seeds, Sesame Oil, Shallots, Maple Syrup and a sprinkling of Sea Salt and Ground Hazelnuts. TIP: finely chop the nuts ~ they will stick to the peppers.
What are Shishito Peppers?
- A mild variety of chili pepper, harvested while green, yet- turn shades of red when left to ripen.
- A Japanese cultivar of chili pepper that are small and relatively mild… yet with about one in every ten pods will produce a spicy, hot flavor!
- Shishito peppers originated in Japan and are close cousins to the Spanish padrón pepper.
- Very low in calories and carbohydrates! Rich in vitamins and minerals – a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and fiber with anti-inflammatory properties.
- The name ~ from Japanese: the tip of the chili pepper (tōgarashi) looks like the lion (shishi) – so in Japanese it is often abbreviated as “shishitō.”
- Shishitos are thin-walled, so they cook quite quickly.
- All you need is oil to cook and sea salt to flavor – try adding flavorings and seasonings to your liking.
- They will puff up when cooking, then deflate.
- The entire pepper is edible, seeds and all! Eat the whole pod – discarding the stem.
Shishito peppers can be cooked in a skillet (I love cast iron), grilled outdoors, roasted, even broiled.
Best eaten immediately after cooking, as they will soften over time.
Since every ten or so shishitos are spicy – I’ve got a quick hint…
If you are not spice tolerant – take a nibble of a cooked one at its end – test to see if it is spicy.
Similar to jalapeño peppers that have a great range of heat (Scoville Scale) – ever notice that some are spicier than others?
The peppers can be found through local farmer’s markets, at specialty grocers (I’ve spotted them at Trader Joe’s), and are also sold through online seed catalogs for home garden use. Peak growing season is from summer through early fall. Some markets sell them year round.
The multi-colored ones are a rarer find – they are gorgeous… the red one’s are sweeter.
Multi-Colored: from green to dark red when mature, they are covered in deep folds, wrinkles, and creases.
“Blistering” the peppers brings out their subtle sweet and smoky flavor.
Ideal for appetizers and nibbling – I serve them as a yummy side dish.
Sesame Blistered Shishito Peppers - Mine are Multi-Colored!
- 3/4 pound shishito peppers washed & dried
- 1 teaspoon neutral oil such as expeller pressed safflower oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons shallots peeled, chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon pure roasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds toasted until golden
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon hazelnuts chopped or ground fine (optional)
- Heat a cast iron skillet with 1 teaspoon neutral oil, set heat to medium high.Swirl skillet to coat, when oil shimmers add all the shishto peppers and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Cook - not moving the peppers until they have darkened and blistered underneath - about 3 minutes (half-way of cooking)Stir up the shishitos, add the shallots and sesame oil and cook, stirring until the shishitos are evenly blistered, and the shallots are golden (about 3 minutes more.)
- Add the toasted sesame seeds, maple syrup and hazelnuts - give a big stir, cook 30 seconds and remove from heat. Hazelnuts are optional; I love them. Can use any finely chopped nut to your liking.
- Add to serving bowls and serve immediately.Like a dip for these beauties? See below.
Mix together with a small wire whisk: 3 tablespoons mayonnaise*, 1 1/4 teaspoon roasted sesame oil, 1 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce (or GF tamari), 1/4 teaspoon pure maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (more if you desire spicy.) Refrigerate until ready to dip. *One preferably without "natural flavorings." This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer