Genius Recipes

My New Favorite Green Side—in 10 Minutes

This week’s Genius Recipe is inspired by an izakaya favorite you can make anytime (and fast).

May 20, 2020

Every week in Genius Recipes—often with your help!—Food52 Creative Director and lifelong Genius-hunter Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that will change the way you cook.


Curled with smoke and salt, blistered shishito peppers have in recent years seemed to be the one thing everyone could agree on ordering at izakayas and trend-observing restaurants (1).

Still, the delicate little Japanese peppers—with a 1-in-10 chance of surprise spiciness—can be hard to find, especially out of peak season. So the dish hasn’t found at-home ubiquity in America—yet. With an ingredient workaround and some crafty seasoning, I would argue, now it can.

Beer recommended. Photo by PHOTO BY ROCKY LUTEN. FOOD STYLIST: ANNA BILLINGSKOG. PROP STYLIST: AMANDA WIDIS.

This week’s recipe comes from many-talented artist Michele Humes (2) and The Noodle Soup Oracle—the cookbook she wrote, illustrated, and, as she tells me, spent the better part of her life preparing for. It’s a nimble, freeing guide to making noodle soups with anything and everything at hand. These peppers are among the dozens of toppings to be mix-and-matched with whatever broth (homemade or zhushed-up store-bought) and noodles you choose.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I love green bell peppers, red and yellow and orange and purple as well!, and almost always have some in the fridge. I eat them as a snack while watching TV in the evening instead of munching on BBQ chips or other junk snacks. They also go into most of my salads or get chopped up into tuna or chicken salad for sandwiches and on any brochettes I make. And of course, the usual stuffed and baked peppers. It's a very versatile vegetable, well fruit actually. 😉 I wonder if Chinkiang black vinegar would go well in this? I'll have to try it and let you know! ”
— Barcham
Comment

I’ve also taken to making them as the fastest, simplest, and perhaps most thrilling green side I know. Because what once was an experience reserved for a fleeting farmers market darling can now be found with one of the least-loved (and therefore least-expensive and easiest-to-find) staples of the produce section: the humble green bell pepper, cut into lovable, shishito-sized curls.

Green bell peppers doing a very good shishito impression.

“I wanted to give this little pepper a chance,” Michele told me. Thanks to the flash-seared green peppers served with beef and black bean sauce from her childhood in Hong Kong, Michele knows that unripened bell peppers are only mushy and flatly bitter when sautéed timidly—as well as how sweet and intense they can be with a good, swift scorch.

In just a couple minutes in a hot, heavy pan, their skin blisters and chars, while the green bits stay bright and alive. In the last moments, you frame them further: splashes of rice vinegar for vibrance, toasted sesame oil for nutty depth, shichimi togarashi for fire and umami, flaky salt for crunch.

Humble no more.

But if you’re lacking any of these seasonings, don’t let that stop you. In the spirit of The Noodle Soup Oracle’s encouraging flexibility, Michele says any vinegar or lemon juice will do, as will crushed red chile flakes, cayenne, or other spikes of heat.

“It’s amazing when you get those black spots on the skin, how much flavor they give on their own,” Michele told me. "Obviously I say to add other flavor, but that’s just gravy.” So like shishitos, you can also just blister them and leave them be.

(1) If you’re able, please consider supporting small restaurants and their workers by buying merchandise or gift certificates, ordering takeout, or donating to the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation or other local organizations near you.

(2) Fun fact: Ten years ago, Michele created a series of food crossword puzzles for Food52. A decade later, they're sadly no longer playable, but she's recently designed a new one called "Poutine on the Passaic: Quarantine Crossword No. 1"—enjoy.

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Perhaps something perfect for beginners? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate, Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.
Order Now

The Genius Desserts cookbook is here! With more than 100 of the most beloved and talked-about desserts of our time (and the hidden gems soon to join their ranks) this book will make you a local legend, and a smarter baker to boot.

Order Now

Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Jonah2100
    Jonah2100
  • Paul Maddox
    Paul Maddox
  • Kirby
    Kirby
  • Sasha Barker
    Sasha Barker
  • Chris
    Chris
Comment
I'm an ex-economist, ex-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."

27 Comments

Jonah2100 May 27, 2020
This was very tasty and easy to prepare. I didn’t have the Japanese seasoning on-hand so I took Kristin’s advice to get creative and threw on some smoked paprika. Worked for me and the family. This recipe goes into the regular summer rotation (and the other seasons, too, if I can find good peppers).
 
Paul M. May 23, 2020
GOOD RECIPE!!! this also works with Hatch or Anaheim chilles, too!!! Try with sour cream thinned with lime juice, and sprinkle the grilled chilles with seasoned salt, cumin, and powdered jalapeno ( what I call 'Texas Gunpowder', but omit for them with sensitive palates...)
 
Kirby May 22, 2020
We have done this before. Similar to when we do Shishitos, crush a couple cloves of garlic and mix with the peppers before the roast. I like them without the sesame oil but we do both. But the crowning finish is a spoonful of goat cheese on top of the finished peppers. We have mixed up goat cheese and lemon juice and garlic and tried to make it more "fluid" but for expediency, just a wad of goat cheese. I like the Togarishi idea and will try that next time. Thanks!
 
Sasha B. May 21, 2020
I have a package of togarashi; now I have something to make with it! Thanks.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. May 22, 2020
Perfect!
 
Chris May 21, 2020
Unfortunately, I have been put on a salt restrictive diet (2000 mg/ day). Are there any suggestions for substitutions for salt that would not drastically change this recipe?
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. May 22, 2020
Hi Chris, there's so much flavor in the peppers from the blackening, you may not miss it! Play around with the vinegar (or a squeeze of lemon) and something spicy and it will have lots going on for you.
 
Chris May 22, 2020
Thank you! Looking forward to trying something new.
 
Kris R. May 20, 2020
I cannot stand vinegar at all. The smell, the taste-I just can’t. Will lemon juice substitute?
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. May 22, 2020
Absolutely!
 
Catcook May 20, 2020
Thank you! Not only for the recipe but for the reason green peppers can be bitter. For the last 20 years I have avoided purchasing them because of that 'flat bitterness'.
Looking forward to making friends with green peppers again!
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. May 22, 2020
I was never a fan till this recipe—hope it's the same for you!
 
Maika C. May 20, 2020
When would you add the sesame seed oil?
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. May 22, 2020
At the end—if you click the "View Recipe" button above, you'll see the whole set of instructions, and I'll link it here: https://food52.com/recipes/83109-shishito-style-green-bell-peppers-recipe
 
Lisa May 20, 2020
This simple dish is what I grow up with. The ingredients are: bell pepper or any fresh sweet or spicy pepper, oil and soy sauce. I split pepper half with hand, then smash the peppers with back of knife to flat, skin side down in pan. When the peppers are blistered, just splash soy sauce over it, immediately turn off the heat. Voila! Done. It goes very well with rice.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. May 22, 2020
Thanks so much for these instructions—I'll try this next time!
 
Lisa May 20, 2020
This simple dish is what I grow up with. The ingredient is: bell pepper or any fresh sweet or spicy pepper, oil and soy sauce. After the peppers are blistered, just splash soy sauce over, turn off the heat. Done! It goes very well with rice.
 
Barcham May 20, 2020
I REALLY need to try these this week. I love green bell peppers, red and yellow and orange and purple as well!, and almost always have some in the fridge. I eat them as a snack while watching TV in the evening instead of munching on BBQ chips or other junk snacks. They also go into most of my salads or get chopped up into tuna or chicken salad for sandwiches and on any brochettes I make. And of course, the usual stuffed and baked peppers.

It's a very versatile vegetable, well fruit actually. 😉

I wonder if Chinkiang black vinegar would go well in this? I'll have to try it and let you know!
 
Rosalind P. May 21, 2020
A gremlin inserted something I didn't write for this. Flagged it but I have no idea how that works. It's not offensive but doesn't belong there. Sorry -- it justs looks stupid. Any way to get it off?
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. May 22, 2020
Black vinegar would be a delicious twist here! (But I also love it pretty much anywhere.)
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. May 22, 2020
I will try to delete for you, Rosalind.
 
susan N. May 20, 2020
Don't scare anyone off with "shichimi togarashi"- only white poppy seed, red pepper flakes, ginger, orange peel, white sesame seed. Now that you have that, grab your green pepper and just chop in half vertically!!! yank out stem and membrane- proceed to slicing. You got this!!!!- if you have your 'S.T." mixed in a jar ready to go then- OK 10 minutes.- thank you love this website and always rewriting your recipes for efficiency-Thank you for your inspiration.
 
Rosalind R. May 20, 2020
Most people are able to use the google to look up ingredients they're not familiar with - as I am - but it's a little precious and smug to skip explaining what Shichimi togarashi is given it's a fairly new and exotic thing for people who aren't Japanese.

 
Chris May 21, 2020
Thank you. I thought this was helpful.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. May 22, 2020
Thanks for the encouragement, Susan!
 
gandalf May 20, 2020
When you cut up the green peppers into slices, you might want to trim off the pith from the flesh; I have found that it can be a little bitter.

I am looking forward to making this soon!
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. May 22, 2020
Thank you!