I'm currently in Albuquerque, filling my belly with green chile. While I'm gone, I asked a few of my favorite food bloggers to guest post for me. Today we're hearing from the lovely Autumn of Autumn Makes And Does, who previously shared her no-fail fudge recipe (she also does the awesome Alphabet Soup podcast!). Autumn is sharing her favorite local summer food, shisito peppers (which sadly, I have never tried!):
I adore vegetables, but most of my favorite treats fall squarely in the sweet category. In my ideal life I eat sky-high chocolate cake every day. So for a vegetable to make it anywhere near treat status, it really has to be something special. Shishito peppers are one of the few green things to make the cut. When Carrie asked me to share a guest post about a favorite local summer food, I knew I had to spread the gospel of shishitos.
Shishito peppers are a small, mild (well, mostly mild) Japanese pepper. Their name is derived from the fact that the very tip of the pepper resembles the head of a lion. Pretty adorable, huh? They’re the Japanese relative of the Spanish padrón pepper and like padróns they’re a mild pepper, but about every tenth pepper can be quite spicy. These peppers have personality.
Even though shishitos are Japanese, I think of them as a local food because I wait patiently for them to appear at my local farmer’s market when it really starts to feel like summer. I’ve noticed more vendors carrying them this year and have also heard of folks finding them at Asian markets. If you can’t find shishitos, padróns are a comparable substitute (Although, in my experience, the hottest padróns are quite a bit hotter than the hottest shishitos). Both definitely fall in the splurge category price-wise, but they’re ideal hot weather food.
Preparing them couldn’t be simpler. I wash and dry them completely (the drying is actually important here because extra water means they’ll steam instead of sear). In my cast iron skillet I put a two-second pour of olive oil and get it smoking hot. Next, I throw in the shishitos and give them a toss to get them coated in oil. Once they’re coated, I leave them alone for about half a minute. Not stirring them constantly lets them develop delicious blackened spots. If you’re a meat eater, think of it like getting a nice sear on a piece of meat. Next, I give them another toss and let them sear for another thirty seconds or so. I continue this process until all the peppers are blackened in spots and visibly softened. In my super-hot cast iron, this takes just 2-3 minutes. (I’m a grill-less city dweller, but I’ve heard they’re great grilled too.)
Finally, I remove them to a paper towel and sprinkle them with kosher salt. That’s it. You eat the whole pepper, seeds and all, except for the stem. They’re surprisingly addictive and the perfect starter for an “it’s too hot to cook” dinner.