Blistered Shishito Peppers

September 18, 2013

If you're like us, you look to the seasons for what to cook. Get to the market, and we'll show you what to do with your haul.

Today: A ridiculously easy appetizer, inspired by a dream meal, that you can replicate at home with just four ingredients.

Blistered Shishito Peppers on Food52

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Sometimes, when you're at a restaurant and you're afraid of how good your main course is going to be, you order an appetizer. You prolong your experience and you make your Last Bite as far away from the present as possible. (I will decline a foreplay analogy here.) You enjoy the food slowly, quietly, deliberately. You prepare, in reverence, for the main event.

As such, on a recent trip to Seattle, I made a pilgrimage to Delancey and I ordered a plate of shishito peppers to ease into my meal. There was pizza in my future. But I was not ready for it yet.

Delancey is a neighborhood restaurant, run by Molly Wizenberg and Brandon Pettit, where friendliness pervades every interaction. A diner sitting alone at the counter is given attention, then given space, then given food. More friendliness follows. The pizza, as everyone will tell you, will change your life. It is a reason in itself to fly to Seattle. But the shishitos you can take home with you. And you should.

Blistered Shishito Peppers on Food52

Blistered to the point of collapsing, peppered with large flakes of salt, and served with just a wedge of lime, these peppers were so good that the man seated to my left ordered three plates. This was a smart decision. When I returned home, my first order of business was to ask Molly for all of her pepper-related secrets. 

This is a very low-maintenance dish in both preparation and consumption: it comes with its own utensil (a stem), requires minimal dressing (salt + acid), and once you've seen it prepared, you get it: heat oil; deposit peppers; watch them blister. Rotate them like ears of corn on a grill. They are done, in Molly's words, when they are "tender to the tooth." Drain them on paper towels. Salt with reckless abandon. Try one; add a squeeze of lime; marvel as delicious turns into something transcendent: smoky, sweet, spicy, almost laughably perfect.

Blistered Shishito Peppers on Food52

You can serve these to company as a boastfully effortless appetizer; eat them as a snack when you're feeling peckish; put them on your pizza. Hell, eat the whole batch as a meal.

Blistered Shishito Peppers

Serves 4, as an appetizer

1 pound shishito peppers, preferably with stem intact
Grapeseed oil (or another oil with a high smoke point)
Flaky salt
1 lime, cut into wedges

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Eric Moran

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • MrsWheelbarrow
  • dunham
  • Sapphite
  • Nomnomnom
  • Kenzi Wilbur
    Kenzi Wilbur
Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



MrsWheelbarrow September 25, 2013
I found three shishito plants at a small Japanese grocery store (shopping with Jenny!) and they have produced So! Many! Peppers! I'm picking between 50 and 80 peppers a week. No joke. I love growing these peppers, and this is precisely how I have been enjoying them for the entire growing season. If you have a garden, plant them next season.
dunham September 19, 2013
I also like to slice them in half, toss them with some salt and olive oil, and put them on a pizza before it goes into the oven. (About 7 min at 530 F, with red sauce, manchego, minced spanish chorizo, and grate some parmesan on top after cooking.)
Sapphite September 18, 2013
Hmmmm... that's exactly how I prepare Padron Peppers when I am in the mood for Pepper Roulette as only 1 or 2 out of ten Padron Peppers is hot. Seems I have something new to try this weekend.
Nomnomnom September 18, 2013
I was just admiring the shishitos at the farmer's market last Saturday. Now I know what to do with them. Thanks!
Kenzi W. September 18, 2013
These are my new favorite party trick.
Tokyo B. September 18, 2013
We have tons of shishito here in Japan so please let me warn you a bit...sometimes you find the one you just put in your mouse is extra-hot and burning all over. Be careful!
Marian B. September 18, 2013
Thank you for the warning!
QueenSashy September 18, 2013
My favorite too! I also like to "blister" pimientos de padron.
dymnyno September 18, 2013
These are my favorite appetizer and easy to grow your own. I roast mine in my outdoor wood burning oven. It is important to get peppers that are just picked or the risk of getting a really really hot one increases.
Marian B. September 18, 2013
That's how they do it at Delancey -- in a pizza oven! They actually use olive oil because the oven is so hot that the peppers cook before the oil begins to smoke, which I found fascinating. I'd love to try growing my own one day. Thanks for the spiciness tip!
Brette W. September 18, 2013
I had no idea that these were so easy to make. Can't wait to try them!
Jen M. September 18, 2013