Roasted Shishito Peppers
Adapted from Shelley Marks, Silver Lake Farms
Shishito peppers are a lovely little member of the capsicum family. They are Japanese in origin and get their name from the Japanese word for lion, shishi, because their tip is said to resemble a lion. I’m not sure I see it, but it’s a nice story.
About 10% of shishito peppers are hot. The rest are mild, which makes it kind of fun if you don’t mind the occasional burst of heat.
Shishitos are great for roasting. They’re small and have a thin skin. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn. I find that poking a hole in the tip will prevent the peppers from bursting open before they’re done.
There are many Japanese preparations for shishitos, such as tempura-battered and fried or roasted and sprinkled with togarashi. But I like shishitos best tossed with a small amount of olive oil, roasted, and sprinkled with sea salt.
If you want to get fancy, try stuffing the roasted shishitos with goat cheese and serving them on a bed of Slow-Cooked Tomato Sauce (see recipe from September 24, 2010) or your favorite tomato sauce.
To roast shishitos:
Heat an indoor or outdoor grill pan to medium hot. While the pan is heating, toss 1/2 lb shishito peppers with 1-2 t olive oil. When the pan is hot, add the peppers in a single layer and roast, stirring occasionally, until the skins of the peppers are mostly blackened. You don’t want them completely blackened. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with sea salt.
To stuff roasted shishitos:
Slit the roasted peppers lengthwise. Carefully insert about a teaspoon or two of goat cheese into each pepper. You may want to roll the goat cheese between your palms to shape it so it fits inside the pepper. Serve on a bed of your favorite homemade tomato sauce.
You can season the goat cheese with herbs or black pepper, or even mix in a small amount of carmelized onion or roasted garlic before shaping and stuffing into the peppers.