I still remember the first time I tried grilled shishito peppers. Mike and I were living in an apartment in the Ukrainian village neighborhood of Chicago with a very small, shared backyard. We had just enough room for a small garden along the fence line, which happened to be my first real gardening experience. When we went to a local garden nursery, neither of us had heard of the shishito plants for sale there, but since we were limited on garden space, we thought we’d give them a try.
If you start your garden in mid-May, they will probably be ready around August. They can have a kick to them – not as strong as jalapeño, but stronger than a poblano. They look really shriveled up with lots of curvy grooves. Some even twist into odd shapes. Once you try one, it’s hard not to go back for more… just like your favorite bag of chips, but way healthier.
All you do to prepare the shishitos is toss them in a bowl with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes, if you’d like a little extra kick. Throw them on a high heat grill for a couple minutes per side (using tongs to turn them), about 4-5 minutes total. That’s it.
Mike and I had a hard time finding shishitos to plant in our garden earlier this year, so we actually ordered them from Amazon. The plants came fully intact and we recently gathered our first bounty from our garden this weekend. Since it’s later in the year, you can also find harvested shishitos at Trader Joes or your local market.
GRILLED SHISHITO PEPPERS
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Shishito peppers (between 12-20)
Salt and pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes (if additional spice is desired)
Note: Some peppers are more spicy than others.
1. Prepare grill for high heat.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, toss shishitos, olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to coat the peppers.
3. Add shishitos to the hot grill and turn them after 2 minutes; 4-5 minutes total grill time.
4. Remove from grill and let cool slightly before serving.
All images © Regan Baroni 2015.