Happy Boy Produce
SPICE LEVEL: Shishito Peppers are typically quite mild but there is the rare chance of an spicy one.
Meet Shishito, the Japanese Cousin to the Spanish Padrón.
Posted by Drew
Every culture has its own unique versions of snack foods…from meat on a stick, grilling up street side, to a deep fried sumthin’, so rich, crispy and yummy it hardly matters what’s inside. Adventurous travelers always come home with tales of delicious eats from all over the world. Often times, Happy Boy customers will share the vivid details of that wonderful first taste of Pimientos de Padrón on a trip to Spain. It’s so easy to be transported by their tale of bicycle riding in the countryside and stopping for some tapas. Beaming with pleasure, they retell the story, clutching their purchase, overjoyed to find these little peppers again as they make plans to relive that moment of gastronomic perfection.
In Japan, there are specific establishments called izakaya. These are places where folks gather to have evening drinks, sitting on tatami mats before a low table where small plates of tsukidashi or otoshi (appetizers or snack foods) are shared. I’ve spoken to quite a few customers who, upon finding that we are growing and selling shishito peppers, recall their experiences of having these peppers at izakayas, both in Japan and here in California. Luckily for us, here in the Bay Area the celebration of snack food is alive and well. And many restaurants have shishito peppers on their menus, primarily showing up as appetizers.
The peppers are small and thin-skinned with long creases or wrinkles and a bright fresh green color. The flavor is smoky-savory with a touch of sweetness and the texture is silky and succulent. They are quite similar in appearance to the Spanish Padrón pepper though they do have their own unique, albeit subtle, characteristics in look and taste. The easiest preparation is to lightly oil, then grill or pan fry in a wok or skillet in olive oil until blistered. Finish with a squeeze of lemon or splash of ponzu and some high quality sea salt and poof! You are transported right back to that moment you had them in a fabulous restaurant. The preparation variations are endless, Some other popular accompaniments are: miso vinaigrette, yuzu salt and bonito, sesame oil and dash of ponzu, and garlic scallion sauce. And don’t forget that these peppers are an ideal choice for tempura.
The opportunity to pick up some shishito peppers this year will be brief, so get them while you can, in the peak of the summer season.
Recipes & Pairings
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Use interchangeably with Padrón peppers in any recipe.
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