If they already call you by your first name at that hot new eatery, you’re probably several food fads ahead of the curve. But for the rest of us, say hello to the next to-die-for snack or side. Shishito (shih-SHE-toe) peppers—finger-sized, heavily dimpled, and thin-fleshed—have long been a staple at Japanese restaurants, where they’re prized for their mild, slightly smoky taste. But, as latimes.com put it last year, they’re “having their moment” in the wider world.
To see why, just heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy pan until sizzling hot but not smoking, sauté half a pound of shishitos, stirring often, until the skin is blistered and the peppers have started to soften (3 to 5 minutes), sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and prepare to be wowed.
You’ll need to stay on your toes, though. While most shishitos are mild, one out of every 10 or 20 packs some serious heat. That adds “a level of playfulness to the eating experience that most foods can only dream of,” as pepperscale.com notes.
Look for shishitos—or nearly identical Padrón peppers or (low- or no-heat) cubanelles—at your farmers market, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or other grocery store. Then cook yourself up a shishito storm.
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