Blistered Shishito Peppers

My return to New York seems to have been plagued by a rough patch in the recipe department. While the gazpacho was a surprise first-time success and the grilled plums an easy, satisfying treat, the rest of our meals have been marked by a litany of culinary mistakes. Not mistakes of the “not-what-I-intended-but-maybe-even-better” kind, but rather the “not-bad-enough-to-throw-out-but-not-exactly-enjoyable-to-eat-either” kind of mistakes. An attempted chickpea and potato fritter (another favorite Spain meal knock-off) turned into a sticky, seemingly unfryable (is that a word?) paste. It was salvaged after I topped it with some okra and the smoky paprika sauce I had intended for the fritters. Last night’s meal was meant to be poblanos stuffed with cornbread batter and baked into a somewhat tamale-meets-chiles-rellenos type deal. This eventually — and perhaps inevitably — turned into a hash (more often than not, I rename my mistakes to “hash” during the attempted salvaging stage, which usually involves some deconstruction and a little sauteeing) after I realized, an hour into baking, that the batter inside was still entirely uncooked. There were several other “oops” moments in there as well, but I’ll spare you all the gory details.

I guess we’ve all had our bad weeks. When mine hit, I usually seek out simplicity. Working in the kitchen can be an extremely calming, even therapeutic, experience. Yet sometimes, it’s easy to forget that. Between the multi-floured baked goods and the endless substitution brainstorming, the simple, naturally gluten-free meals can get lost in the shuffle. And often, they’re the best ones.

These shishito peppers take simple to the extreme. Gennaro and I actually enjoyed a quite simiar dish at one of the highly-acclaimed, celebrity-endorsed tapas restuarants we went to in Spain. Just a plate of peppers, slightly charred on the outside and wilted to a perfect texture, then sprinkled with salt. Between the labor-intensive patatas bravas and the multi-ingredient salad topped with fish roe (I know, one of my aforementioned fish transgressions), the peppers dish was one of our favorites. Back in New York, just a few days later, I noticed these beautiful, bright green shishito peppers were abundant at one stand at the Greenmarket. The girl behind the counter was cooking some up herself. I immediately brought a bag home and did the same. They were the perfect snack. And they were perfect on the first try. With all of three ingredients. Go figure.

Shishito Peppers:

Some tips: These shishito peppers work best when there’s not too much going on in the pan. That’s why I wrote this recipe in 1/4 lb. increments. But I have a feeling you’ll want more than that, so buy a lot and make this in batches. Also, I eat the stems, and I believe this is the norm. I could be wrong, but I’m still alive. For those unfamiliar with shishito peppers, they are ever-so-slightly sweet  and not hot, though you may get a very mildly hot one in there every once-in-awhile. The bigger ones tend to have more heat, if any.

1/4 pound shishito peppers

1 teaspoon good olive oil

Course grain sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

Heat skillet (non-stick is good here) with olive oil. Add peppers and saute — about 3-5 minutes — until peppers begin to pop and blister. Stir occassionally. Remove to a plate and sprinkle peppers with sea salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Comments

  1. says

    That photo is great, Beth! I love simple recipes like this one. Roasting, braising, sauteing, etc., with olive oil and salt (and sometimes some seasonings) can create some amazing recipes. Like roasted chickpeas, kale chips, and more. I’d love some of these (and I’m not necessarily a big pepper girl), but doubt I could find them here.

    Congratulations, newlywed! I’m sure the recent cooking kinks will work out. -)

    Shirley

  2. Beth says

    Thanks, Shirley!! Kale chips are one of those things I’ve seen everywhere and have yet to try. But you’re right, the simple recipes can be pretty amazing. Thanks for the encouragement and congrats!!!

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