Shishito Peppers Two Ways

August 3rd, 2009 by megan · 17 Comments

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Grilled Shishito Peppers

Grilled Shishito Peppers

I’m not afraid to go out on a limb and say that shishito peppers are the most delicious peppers ever in the history of peppers. They are so good I had to cook them up two different ways. The first: a classic method for cooking shishito peppers – toss them in a bit of oil, drop them on a hot grill pan or cast-iron skillet, and cook until hot and blackened in spots. Then toss with a bit of kosher or sea salt. (Wait! I just gave the recipe away! Do I really need to type it up now?) The second method involves a bit of frying. I use a very simple batter to fry up various summer produce, shishito peppers being a recent favorite. The batter results in a crispy exterior that won’t fall off. (Contrary to popular wisdom, I fry in extra virgin olive oil. It tastes good.)  Try the batter for squash blossoms, zucchini rounds, patty pan squash slices, jalepenos…pretty much any kind of summer produce that you can get your hands on.

Shishito peppers are not spicy, so I like to add just a tiny bit of cayenne to the salt after grilling or frying – I like spicy. Of course, this step is entirely optional. Also, you can strain the olive oil after frying and re-use it so as not to waste perfectly good extra-virgin olive oil.

(Serves 2-3 as an appetizer)

For the pan-roasted peppers:
1 cup (or more) shishito peppers
1 tablespoon (or more) extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Cayenne (optional)

For the fried peppers:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water
1 cup (or more) shishito peppers
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Cayenne (optional)

Lemon or lime wedges for serving

Special Equipment: Grill pan, cast-iron skillet, or heavy-bottomed pan

Fried Shishito Peppers

Fried Shishito Peppers


For the pan-roasted peppers:

  1. Heat your grill pan, cast-iron skillet, or heavy-bottomed pan over very high heat.
  2. Toss the peppers with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Drop the peppers on the hot skillet, and cook, turning occationally, until the peppers have softened and are charred in spots.
  3. Remove from heat and sprinkle kosher salt and the optional pinch of cayenne over the peppers. Eat piping hot.

For the fried peppers:

  1. Put the water in a small bowl. Sift the flour into the water, stirring with a fork or a small whisk until the flour has been entirely incorporated into the water. You should have a mixture as thick as skim yogurt. (If your mixture is too thick or too thin, add a bit more water or flour as needed.)
  2. In a medium, heavy-bottomed skillet, add extra virgin olive oil to come about an inch up from the bottom of the pan. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil is very hot (drop a bit of the batter into the oil – it should immediately turn a golden brown color and start to float to the top of the oil).
  3. Dunk the peppers into the batter, letting the excess batter drip back into the bowl. Add the battered peppers to the oil and fry until golden brown, turning halfway through cooking. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook the peppers in batches. (Don’t crowd the pan: it will immediately lower the temperature of the oil and will result in a soggy, not crisp, crust.)
  4. Drain on a paper towels and sprinkle with kosher salt and the optional cayenne while still hot.
  5. Serve very hot with lemon or lime wedges on the side.


Michael Aug 3, 2009 at 4:05 pm

I love these peppers too! I always cook them the first way, but I’ll try the second now. Pimiento’s de pardron are also really good, and the probability of getting a spicy one seems a little bit higher.

katiek @kitchensidecear Aug 4, 2009 at 12:24 am

well well. these look damn good. i was thinking even tempura batter. i am going to go out on a limb here and say that these look better than squash blossoms (always good in theory – but not as much in practice).

I want to find them. Are they available in super markets or just at special markets? gimme!

nina Aug 4, 2009 at 12:27 am

I can’t say that I have seen these peepers around here, but I will have a look around!!! Looks delicious!!!

megan Aug 4, 2009 at 8:42 am

I love padron peppers, too! I made them stuffed with piave cheese and fried with the same batter.

Katie, I’m almost positive that you will be able to find these in San Fran. I get them at the farmer’s market here, but only one farm stand has them regularly. Nina – hmm, you might have a harder time! But you can substitute other peppers for sure.

Natasha - 5 Star Foodie Aug 4, 2009 at 2:31 pm

I will definitely be trying these peppers – they look and sound fantastic. How spicy are they?

Daily Spud Aug 8, 2009 at 11:33 am

I’ve had peppers grilled like this and served as tapas in Spain – I could eat bowls of the stuff. Now, the only question is, where shall I get my hands on some of these peppers, hmm…

katiek @kitchensidecear Aug 15, 2009 at 9:41 pm

I just bought some!!! So excited to try

Marc @ NoRecipes Aug 17, 2009 at 1:57 am

I’m a big fan of shishito peppers to (so much so I made them a part of my blog header) . Grilled with salt is my favourite, but I’m liking the fried idea.

maggie Aug 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Yum! I almost bought these at the Union Sq market today, but they were so pricey…now I’m regretting not getting them anyway…

gastroanthropologist Sep 3, 2009 at 12:34 pm

I just had something similar in San Sebastian, Spain. I gobbled up a giant plate of them in two minutes. Love lots of salt on these guys.

Liz Aug 9, 2010 at 10:26 pm

I found these at a farmer’s market in Monterey, last year and then found the seeds at Redwood City Seeds (google it)…also known as “wrinkled old man”. I grill them in olive oil and salt/pepper and I dip them in:
2/3 cup plain yogurt, 1/3 cup mayo, salt and pepper, 1 large clove garlic (crushed), 1 tsp. sugar and 1 tsp champagne vinegar. Make sure its all ready for cocktail hour…my husband LOVES this and so do I! I have to agree, this is my absolute favorite pepper!

Pat Nov 16, 2010 at 3:42 pm

I was introduced to these about a month ago. I’ve since bought 3lbs. I’ve been pan-roasting and I just used up my last lb last night. Wish I had waited another day, the fried look delicious. I’ve been getting mine at Phil Foster Farm in San Juan Bautista, CA. It’s hit and miss though. And now that people have seen my friends and me load up it generated a lot of interest. So far I don’t know of any markets that carry them. Thank God for Farmers Markets.

smoovebert Mar 5, 2011 at 5:24 pm

I normally have them pan roasted but i battered them for the first time after seeing your site and I loved them!

norma Apr 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm

The are very much like the Padron peppers from Spain. Some are hot and some are sweet. You never know which one you will get. Cooked on skillet with olive oil and the some sea salt. delicious

Alexis R. Dec 5, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Ive been eating shishito peppers for years, both in Japanese & Korean restaurants. My favorite way to prepare them is to stir fry them in a wok in a small amount of peanut oil till soft & slightly blackened. I drain them on paper towels, then toss them in a sauce of equal parts oyster sauce, Thai fish sauce, low sodium soy sauce, & Mirin wine. Delicious!

Alexis R. Dec 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Oh, I almost forgot! I sprinkle the shishito peppers with shaved bonito flakes before serving. As to where to find them, try Japanese markets. Mitsua, in Los Angeles, has everything you’ll need for this recipe.

severn Jan 4, 2012 at 7:58 pm

my preferred method: drizzle sesame oil over them, then grill until softened with char marks. remove and top with bonito flakes (and kosher salt, if desired)

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