shishito peppers in olive oil and garlic

by Heguiberto on February 15, 2011

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The first time I read about shishito peppers was on a bog dedicated to disseminating Japanese food and culture in Brazil. Marisa Ono, a Brazilian of Japanese descent, spent several years in Japan. Upon her return to Brazil, she created her blog and started producing common Japanese vegetables not widely available. She grows edamame, shishito peppers, sweet peas, and novelties such as the popular black garlic. Her black garlic took off and became a successful business enterprise. She now supplies it to a bunch of restaurants in Brazil. That’s a very cool thing! I was excited about tasting black garlic and finally had it for the first time back in January at Cyrus in Healdsburg. We had it again at Coi last weekend. It has an interesting sweet, plumy, smoky, mushroomy and garlicky flavor.

shishito peppers in olive oil and garlic

shishito peppers in olive oil and garlic

But back to the topic at hand: shishito peppers. When I first saw a pic of them, I thought they looked just like pimientos de Padrón (PDP for short), those peppers that migrated from Mexico to Spain and became a sensation in the city of Padrón. Here’s a fabulous recipe, if I say so myself 😉 prepared with PDPs, as well as a bit of their history.

The fun thing about PDPs is that through cross-pollination, some of the peppers taste sweet while others are spicy. They’re not unbearably hot by any means but they are surprising, bite-to-bite, pepper-to-pepper. Sweet or hot, they’ve got such a wonderful flavor!

Last Sunday while shopping at Nijiya Market I spied a mountain of shishito peppers. These intrigued me. They look almost like PDPs in color and shape, with a glossy and wrinkled skin. They break easily with a snap. Some are spicy; others, sweet. The main difference as far as I’m concerned is that shishito peppers are perhaps a bit bigger than PDPs. And they’re a lot cheaper: half as much as the PDPs.

This is a very simply recipe of sautéed shishitos in garlic and oil. They’re great as a side or perhaps even a snack. You can eat the whole pepper including the stems!

shishito peppers in olive oil and garlic

1 lb shishito peppers, rinsed and pat dried
3 cloves garlic in slivers
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper.

Add oils to a pan, then garlic, salt, shishito and black peppers. Sauté on high until shishitos’ skins begin to blister, about 5 minutes. Shake pan continuously to prevent garlic from burning. After they’ve blistered some, add a couple tablespoons of water and continue cooking on high for another 3 minutes or so until water has evaporated. Serve!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelley February 15, 2011 at 8:23 am

Gorgeous peppers- great shot! That’s interesting about the origin of PDPs. Here in TX we have a ton of pepper varieties that I’ve never been exposed to before. I’m still a little timid about cooking with many of them because I prefer a more fragrant heat than the searing heat of some peppers. Don’t know if I can find shishitos in Austin but I’ll be sure to look for them. Thanks for sharing!

Davantage February 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm

That is a funny story. Peppers are native to the new world – the Americas.

Heguiberto February 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

Davantage: Isn’t it interesting? Can you imagine Asian/South Asian foods without chili peppers?

Shelley: Be brave, keep on trying them. Chili peppers are amazing. Have you seen dried chili peppers such as ancho or pasilla in Austin? They are incredibly fragrant with a slight heat. Steven makes this smoky ancho salsa that is just incredible. Every time he makes it, I demand it to be in double batch!


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