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Sautéed Shishito Peppers

The Japanese shishito has only recently emerged as a trendy little pepper that fetches a high price—$10 a pound and more. It’s about the size of a jalapeño, easy to grow and to cook, and great fun to sauté and eat whole. You can probably do fancier, chef-ier things with shishitos, but they’re terrific like this. They are absolutely the best thing to nibble on with drinks.–Deborah Madison

LC Sneaky Shishitos Note

Though they resemble skinny, shriveled jalapeños, shishitos are quite distinct and relatively sweet. Well, except when they’re not. See, about one out of every dozen or so shishitos is mind-bendingly hot. Sorta like a prank on the part of Mother Nature. Shishitos have long been the little darling of New York City chef types who frequent the city’s greenmarkets first thing in the morning so as to snatch up all the loveliest and quirkiest produce. As for what Deborah Madison mentions above, she’s right, you know. You can do all manner of fancier, chef-ier things with them. Like toss them with roasted or sautéed fingerlings. Or conspire with the bartender and rely on them to infuse gin or tequila. But mostly they’re served like this (or char-grilled rather than pan-sautéed and served in the same fashion). Madison notes that if you have leftovers—”an unlikely event in my experience”—just trim the stems and stir the peppers into an omelet or scrambled eggs.

Sautéed Shishito Peppers Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 15 M
  • Servings vary

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Shishito peppers, rinsed and patted very dry
  • Sea salt
  • Lemon or lime wedges (optional)

Directions

  • 1. Heat a little olive oil in a wide sauté pan or skillet until it’s good and hot but not smoking. Add the peppers, complete with stems, and cook them over medium, tossing and turning them frequently until they blister. They should only char in places. Don’t rush the process. It can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to cook a panful of peppers, depending on the heat and the skillet.
  • 2. When the peppers are blistered, toss them with sea salt and add a squeeze of fresh citrus. Slide the peppers into a bowl and serve them hot. Instruct guests to pick them up by the stem end and eat the whole thing—minus the stem, that is.

Padrón Pepper Variation

  • Padrón peppers can be treated exactly the same way, but they tend to be hotter in terms of tongue-tingling potential, so consider yourself warned.
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