blistered shishito peppers
rudisill / E+ via Getty Images Plus

Recipe of the Day: Blistered Shishito Peppers

Perfect for summer
blistered shishito peppers
rudisill / E+ via Getty Images Plus

When summer rolls around, it’s party time, which means it’s time to stand around snacking on little bites while finally visiting with family and friends — finally! Potato chips and cream cheese-based dips are fine and good, but you can only have so much of that before you start to feel weighed down. Luckily, summer offers a bounty of fresh produce that, with a little work, can make for delicious, nutritious and light bites — like shishito peppers.

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Shishito peppers can be found year-round at most grocery stores but they reach their peak season in summer, when other types of peppers also thrive. 

What are shishito peppers?

Shishito peppers originated in Japan, and the name shishito refers to the pepper’s distinctive tip shape, which is said to look like a lion’s head. Beyond the tip, you’ll notice shishito peppers by their distinctively curvy and wrinkly shape, and these peppers are also on the smaller side, reaching about 3 inches in length. Though they turn red when particularly ripe, shishito peppers are most often picked when still green. 

Are shishito peppers hot?

Shishito peppers are mild peppers, more like poblanos or green bell peppers than anything else. They have a fresh, mild and slightly sweet yet slightly bitter flavor. Though shishitos tend to be incredibly mild, every now and then you will find a particularly spicy one.

How to cook shishito peppers

Shishitos can be eaten raw, though they are most popular blistered in a pan or in the oven. Their thin skin lends itself to this preparation as it crisps up quickly. And blistering shishitos is so easy. All you really need is oil, salt and pepper and a hot oven. Preheat your oven to 350F, toss the peppers in oil, salt and pepper, bake for 10 minutes and prepare to snack all day.

You can also take your shishitos to restaurant-worthy levels of deliciousness with some other summer staples like roasted corn, sumac (a spice that's great to keep in your pantry) and a homemade lemon garlic aioli. So, really, what are you doing? Get to the farmers market and pick up some shishitos this summer for the ultimate snack. And once you’re done cooking those up, serve them alongside more of the best foods to serve at any party.

Blistered Shishito Peppers With Lemon Aioli

This recipe is by Seasons 52 restaurant in Orlando and was originally published in the Orlando Sentinel.

Ingredients:

For the lemon aioli:

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste

For the shishito peppers:

  • 3 cups whole shishito peppers
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 ear roasted corn kernels (see notes)
  • 2 pinches sumac
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta
  • 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese

Directions:

For the lemon aioli:

Step 1: In a bowl, mix together 3 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice to taste, and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

For the shishito peppers:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350F.

Step 2: Place 3 cups whole shishito peppers in baking pan. Lightly coat peppers with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Add 1/2 ear roasted corn kernels and 2 pinches sumac. Bake for 10 minutes.

Step 3: Transfer ingredients to bowl. Top with 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese, 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese and lemon aioli. Serve warm.

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