Small and sweet with just the mildest bit of heat, blistered shishito peppers are the perfect snack or appetizer. You've probably seen them on restaurant menus, but there's no need to only eat them out as they’re super easy to prepare at home. Try making them during their peak summer season, and you’ll see what the fuss is about.
What Are Shishito Peppers?
Shishito peppers are small, bright green Japanese peppers that have a mild heat, but beware because about one every 10 or so can be hot, which is why I call them Roulette Peppers (there’s no way to know until you taste them).
They’re about 3 inches long and narrow with firm, glossy skin. They have some wrinkles and are a bit twisty—that’s how you distinguish them from similar but spicier Padrón peppers. Although they’re usually picked while still green, you may find the occasional red or orange ones, too.
Like all sweet and hot chile peppers, shishitos (Capsicum annuum) are descended from South or Central American plants. It’s likely that Portuguese explorers brought the chiles to Japan several centuries ago, and some were bred into mild shishitos.
How to Buy Shishito Peppers
The peak season for shishito peppers is summer. This is when you can easily find them at farmers’ markets and well-stocked grocery stores. Look for those that are firm, glossy, and have a few wrinkles but are not shriveled. Count on about 4 to 6 peppers per person.
What's the Best Way to Eat Them
Shishito peppers can be eaten raw, seeds and all, but in my opinion they’re best sautéed so the outside gets blistered, which brings out the peppers’ sweet heat, but the flesh remains firm. Shishitos can also be grilled or roasted. Avoid overcooking, though, because shishitos can turn bitter quickly.
When blistered, the peppers need nothing but some salt and a squeeze of lime. But they're also often served with Japanese ingredients, such as sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, and soy sauce. Citrus like lemon or lime is a good match, as are nutty flavors like browned butter and toasted almonds.
What You Need to Make the Recipe
- Fresh shishito peppers
- Olive oli
- Kosher salt
- Lime wedge
How to Make Blistered Shishito Peppers
Toss the fresh shishitos in a medium bowl with olive oil and salt.
Heat a large (12-inch) cast-iron skillet over high until a drop of water smokes on the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peppers in a single layer (cook in batches if necessary) and cook, without stirring, until blistered underneath, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until blistered in spots, puffed, and tender, another 1 to 2 minutes.
Season with salt and serve right away.
How to Store Shishito Peppers
Shishitos can be refrigerated in an open paper bag for up to a week, depending on how fresh they are.
- Shishito peppers are often confused with the Spanish Padrón peppers, which are similar in size, shape, and color, but Padróns have a slighter hotter and earthier flavor. Blistered Padrón peppers are often served as tapas.
- If the peppers are cooked too slowly or at a low heat, they will wilt and get too soft before the skins have a chance to char.
Blistered shishito peppers are one of the easiest appetizers you can make. They're crunchy, smoky, sweet, salty and addictive! You can't stop at just one. The key to this recipe is high heat and quick cooking in a hot skillet.
1 Tbs. olive oil
20 to 24 shishito peppers (about 5 ounces)
1. In a large bowl, toss the peppers with the oil. Heat a large (12-inch) cast-iron skillet over high until a drop of water smokes on the surface, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add the peppers in a single layer (cook in batches if necessary) and cook, without stirring, until blistered underneath, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until blistered in spots, puffed, and tender, another 2 to 3 minutes. Cover and cook for the final minute.
3. Season with flaky salt and serve right away with lime wedges.
- Serving Size: 4
- Calories: 59
- Sugar: 0.1g
- Sodium: 2.3mg
- Fat: 3.9g
- Saturated Fat: 0
- Unsaturated Fat: 0
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 7.4g
- Protein: 1.2g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: shishito peppers