The other day I was stuck with a notorious 3:30 PM snack craving – the worst, right? Dinner was within sight, but still far enough away where I felt like I wouldn’t make it without first face diving into a bag of tortilla chips. I’m trying to eat mostly whole foods, and less of the packaged processed stuff, but I knew that a piece of fruit wouldn’t suffice. It had to be salty, something savory, and something that I could eat a lot of without feeling overly full. I opened my fridge, as one does in this sort of situation, and lo and behold, there was a container of Shishito peppers that I had gotten a few days back at the farmer’s market and had since forgotten about. Perfect. Shishitos are thin-skinned peppers popular in East Asia. They are around the same size as Jalapeño peppers, only slightly more slender, a bit more wrinkly, and a brighter green in color. As I mentioned, I purchased mine at a farmer’s market, but I’ve seen them at Whole Foods, some Asian markets, and occasionally bagged at Trader Joe’s.
I love pan frying Shishito peppers in a small amount of oil until they’re a bit blackened and blistered, and topping them with flaky salt. It’s the perfect snack for this exact sort of craving, but it’s also a fantastic thing to set out for guests with some salty peanuts and cold beer. Shishito peppers take minutes to prepare, and they’re fun to eat – it’s a bit like spice Russian roulette. Most are mild, but some have noticeable (but tolerable) heat to them. The key here is to use good finishing salt once they’re done cooking. Anything flaky is best (try Maldon or Fleur de Sel), but some smoked salts can also be really delicious here. Remember to set out a small bowl to discard the stems.