Do you like your snacks tinged with a hint of danger? Good! Then you’ll love shishito peppers. Not only are they crazy low in calories (15 for seven peppers), you’ll get a third of your vitamin C for the day and there’s that dangerous element. While nine out of 10 peppers are completely mild, there’s often a rogue in the bunch that’ll give you a spicy jolt.
Japan has a bar-nibbles trend called izakaya, similar to Spanish tapas, which features small plates of sushi, rice balls, chicken skewers and, yes, shishito peppers. Those peppers are now being grown in the United States to satisfy our appetite for the trendy veg.
Each pepper is around 3 inches long, bright green and a little wrinkly. There really isn’t much prep involved — just give them a quick rinse. Leave the stems on to use as a “handle” as you pop ’em in your mouth. That’s what makes them great to serve as a portable party snack!
I’ve seen them sauteed, grilled, broiled and even tempura battered and deep fried (there goes the crazy low calories). But when I finally found a package at Trader Joe’s, I simply put them in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and drizzled a bit of olive oil over them until the skins started to char and blister. Then I transferred them to a dish and sprinkled them with coarse salt flakes.
These little gems are so popular that you may find them sold out. I went back for seconds and had to wait a month before TJ’s had them back in stock!
Have you ever fallen in love with a food that was so on trend that you ran into issues with availability? —Gail