Blistered Shishito Peppers & Cilantro Crema
Shishito peppers are delightfully deceptive little things: Most of the time, they’re pretty mild, with just the slightest little kick. But every now and then, you’ll bite into one that makes your eyes water. It’s like playing a game of chile-pepper chance — and we absolutely love it. Mind you, we don’t love them only for their spicy trickery. The wrinkly, grassy green peppers are also impressively flavorful given their small size, and they’re a low-effort, high-reward sort of snack.
As we mentioned in our Home Cook’s Guide to Peppers, there’s only one way we’d ever prepare shishitos, and it’s stunningly easy considering how incredible they turn out. We toss the chiles in olive oil, and then fry ‘em in a cast iron with lemon quarters for a few minutes — just until their skin blisters and the lemons begin to blacken. Because of their thin skins, roasted shishito peppers tend to get extra smoky compared to their thick-skinned cousins, so squeezing juice from the charred lemons over them is a must. It adds just the right amount of brightness and acidity to balance out all that smokiness.
Also a must: A healthy sprinkling of crunchy flake salt. It makes the shishitos just as pop-in-your-mouth-able as french fries — perfect for when you want a mindless-munching sort of appetizer. Dip them in herby, tangy cilantro crema, and you’ll find yourself reaching for chile pepper after chile pepper, until the whole darn bowl is gone and you’re too full to eat dinner. And preferably, you’d eat all those little green peppers on a sunny patio with the S.O. while listening to Khruangbin with tequila drinks in hand. (Just be prepared to have an unexpectedly spicy one break your relaxed, summertime trance every so often!)
Our tip: if you’re feeling lazy, skip the crema and grab the bottle of ranch dressing in your fridge — it’s just as good of a dip for these shishito peppers.
Servings: 3 to 4
8 oz shishito peppers
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ lemon, quartered
Flake salt, to taste
1 cup cilantro crema
In a medium bowl, toss the peppers with ½ tablespoon of the olive oil until well coated.
In a cast iron pan, heat the remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Roast the peppers and lemon quarters, turning occasionally, until the peppers are blistered and cooked throughout and the lemons have started to char, 5 to 7 minutes.
Transfer the lemons to a cutting board and the peppers to a small bowl. Squeeze the lemons over the peppers and sprinkle with flake salt to finish. Serve immediately with cilantro crema.