Shishitos are a dish best served blistered. They develop great flavors and you know they will be perfectly cooked with subtle smoky notes. If you have glanced at a restaurant menu lately, there's a good chance you have seen shishito peppers on the menu. Now it's time for you to make this super easy blistered shishito peppers recipe at home.
Ripping, roaring, piping... hot. This is what you need your skillet to be. Don't be afraid of burning these peppers. The skin protects them and browning them up is what adds extra flavor.
About Shishito Peppers
Shishito peppers are a mild-flavored chili pepper that originally comes from Japan, but are now grown all over. The young green version is thin-walled and about the size of a finger with peppery and sweet flavors. The peppers are usually harvested when they are young and green. They turn a beautiful vibrant red when they mature and their skin becomes thicker. They are best in summer months, but available all year long. The heat level in Scoville units ranges from 100 and 1,000.
I recently discovered red shishito peppers while shopping at Specialty Produce here in San Diego. It turns out the red versions are just mature shishitos. Could this be a hint into which ones are going to be slightly hotter?
Are Shishito Peppers Hot?
1 in 10 shishito peppers are slightly spicy. But even those aren't really considered "hot" compared to many chile peppers.
What do Shishito Peppers Taste Like?
Subtly peppery, sweet and smoky when blistered.
Where to Buy Shishito Peppers
Shishito peppers are available at most grocery stores nowadays, including Trader Joes. If you are in San Diego, Specialty Produce always has an amazing selection of fresh Shishitos.
How to Cook Shishito Peppers
Four simple steps: Oil - Blister - Salt - Enjoy
1. Lightly oil the dry peppers (you don't want any water on them at all) with some canola oil or other high-smoke-point oil.
2. Get your skillet smoking hot over high heat.
3. Carefully transfer the peppers into the ripping hot skillet and let them sit without stirring until they start to brown, then give them a stir to brown the other sides.
4. When they are dark brown in spots and softened, toss with coarse salt and serve.
4 Ways to Cook Shishitos
While the best and easiest way to cook shishitos is in a skillet, you can also roast them in the oven, cook them on the grill, or even fry them up in an air fryer. I prefer to blister them in a skillet because of how fast it heats up and the direct contact with the heat that helps them blister the fastest.
- Skillet - super high heat that blisters the peppers quickly. A 12" cast iron skillet (affiliate) works best.
- Roast / Broil - Put them on a sheet pan and let the oven do all the work.
- Grill - If you have a grill basket (affiliate) or you can use your cast iron skillet right on the grill. Grilling over an open flame will add even more amazing smoky flavor to the peppers.
- Air fry - An air fryer can make quick work of the shishitos. They probably won't brown quite the same as the skillet, but they will be delicious.
Tips for Making Blistered Shishito Peppers
- Don't overcrowd the skillet. You want all the peppers in contact with the hot surface so they have the opportunity to blister.
- Cook in batches if you need a large quantity.
- Ripping hot. Get the skillet as hot as you can get it over high heat. Seriously, you want that skillet hot.
- Set your vent fan to turbo and open some windows to keep the house free of smoke, or cook them outside.
- Toss the peppers with oil before sauteeing/blistering rather than adding oil to the skillet. This will perfectly coat them.
- Season with coarse salt after they cook. You don't want to add salt to the peppers prior, or this could pull out some moisture which isn't optimal.
Seasoning and Flavor Options
Since you probably want to make these all the time, it's nice to have a little variety you can add to the mix. The cooking process will remain the same. First sauté the peppers to blister them, then you can toss them with any of the following ideas.
Sesame Oil & Sesame Seeds - Simply drizzle on a little sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds and toss at the end.
Togarashi - Sprinkle on some of this Japanese spice blend that includes red chili pepper, orange peel, sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, ginger and seaweed.
Sriracha Sauce - Place a little Sriracha Sauce or Sriracha mayo in a ramekin on your serving platter to dip the shishitos in.
Flaky Salt - This is a standard. I like to use a combination of Molden Salt and Diamond kosher salt because of the larger flaky Molden crystals can slide off the slippery peppers leaving them tasting unseasoned. Molden even makes a smoked version of their salt, which will be great with the shishitos.
- 6 oz shishito peppers or any amount that will fit in the skillet
- 2 teaspoon canola oil (or similar cooking oil)
- kosher salt or other flaky salt
- Heat a 12" cast iron skillet over high heat until it is smoking hot.
- In a medium bowl, combine the shishito peppers with 2 teaspoons of the canola oil and toss until they are well coated.
- Cook the shishito peppers in the cast iron skillet for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently until they blister and turn dark brown in places.
- Season the peppers with flaky kosher and or Molden Salt.
- If cooking large quantities, it's best to cook in batches so the peppers are in direct contact with the hot skillet.
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