This post has been a long time coming – almost embarrassingly so. A few years ago at a sushi restaurant, I tasted Shishito peppers. We were steered in their direction by our server – I'm sure the bewildered look we gave him was common. "You want me to eat a pepper WHOLE?!". He said trust me…and we did. A snacky bite with more sweet than heat, it was an addictive snack.
Ever since then, I've been asking folks where to get Shishito peppers. I've bugged folks going to Asian markets and told them to look for me. I've harassed people on Twitter. Heck, I've even considered growing my own since I couldn't find them. Until this past weekend. As I wandered the produce aisles at Super H Mart, I saw a package of "Japanese sweet peppers" that looked strangely familiar. They're so inexpensive, I bought them in hopes I'd found those long-lost peppers. I had…and they were just as good as I remember.
This is a great starter for an Asian inspired meal. Make handfuls and handfuls of them because they'll quickly disappear. Allegedly, one in 100 is spicy. Otherwise, they're sweet with only a tiny burn of heat. They also cook in minutes and have so much punch in such a small package. I seasoned mine with a light sprinkle of sesame seeds alongside some citrus and smoked paprika sea salt. Eat them whole but make sure you discard the stem – they make a great "handle" to dip into the salt.
Flash Fried Shishito Peppers
– Mix kosher salt and smoked paprika in small bowl & set aside. Heat sesame oil in a wok or deep saute pan until glimmering. Throw in your peppers and move them around in the pan until they start to blister. BE CAREFUL – the skins may pop and you may get oil sputters. They should blister in 2-3 minutes. Transfer from the pan onto paper towels to drain briefly. Place in serving bowl. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve slightly warm with lemon wedges and seasoned salt.