Little Green Peppers—Shishitos


This is the third or fourth year we’ve had these little gems in the Santa Fe farmers’ market. If they’re not elsewhere, they should be, and they probably will be, is my guess. You can’t go wrong with these wrinkled little morsels.

Japanese shishito peppers are 2 to 3-inches long and bright green, like a green pepper.  Pleats and folds run along the length of their little bodies; the tip is not pointed or Ray Ban outlet blunt, but folds up into itself. These peppers don’t resemble jalapenos or serranos either in looks or in taste.  They’re mild, not hot, though sometimes one will have a little bite. Still, they aren’t quite like bell peppers, either, so know that if you don’t like green bell peppers it doesn’t mean you won’t like shishitos.

These little peppers are absolutely delicious to nibble on with drinks, but people are thrilled to buy them for another reason: they’re insanely easy to prepare. The $10 per pound cost probably works out in terms of time saved. For some, anyway; I see it as expensive! But not yet having succeeded at growing my own, I’m willing to pay. It still probably comes to less than putting out some wedges of decent cheese and is a much more interesting alternative.

Here’s what you do with them.  Heat a little olive oil in a sauté pan until it’s good and hot, but not, of course, smoking. Add the peppers and cook them over high heat, tossing them frequently until they blister. It takes about 10 minutes or possibly longer, for a pan full of peppers.  Whey they’re done, add some sea salt and toss again. Some like a squeeze of fresh lemon, too.  Slide them into a bowl and you’re done.  Serve them hot. You pick them up by the stem end and eat the whole thing.  Minus the stem.

Sure you can probably do fancier things with them and some chefs do, but they’re just terrific like this. If you have leftovers (unlikely), chop off the stems and put them in an omelet. And if you’re a gardener, you can get seeds from Kitazawa seed company and grow your own.

13 comments to Little Green Peppers—Shishitos

  • I’ll let you know if I see them at the farmers’ market where I go. I like that they are easy to prepare. Plus, your description of their flavor has made me curious now.

  • Ali

    These sound so much like the pimentos de padron we can now get here in Oregon thanks to a couple of great farms, Ayers Creek and Viridian. Have you had both? Is the taste similar?

  • I’m so jealous. I’m in Albuquerque and I’m dying to try them. I may have to make a special farmer’s market trip to SF just to look for shishitos because I still haven’t seen them here anywhere. We also haven’t received them in our CSA – Los Poblanos Organics.

  • Nanette!
    Ask your wonderful farmer, Monte, to grow some.
    But in the meantime, come up to our market and give them a try — they’re great fun!

  • Ali – They’re not quite the same, though close
    in terms of size. The padrons have fewer wrinkles and are hotter than the mild shishitos.
    They both get sauteed in olive oil and are served as appetizers or drink nibbles.
    Maybe those two fine farmers would consider growing shishitos next year?

  • Nicole

    I just ate a plate full of these at Cafe Pasqual’s on Sunday night. They were tossed with lime juice and absolutely delicious! I am going to try to grow them next summer.

  • It is the first time I see these little peppers. Do you know where I could get some seeds??

  • Nicole – I just ate a plate of peppers at Pasqual’s, too! Good, weren’t they?

    Louise —Seeds are available through Kitazawa
    Seed Company. You can find them in San Francisco, but no doubt on line, too. I just picked some at lunch today for some friends who had never seen the —just picked them off the plants —nothing better!

  • Ali

    I am happy to report back that I didn’t need to wait till next year or do any farmer-convincing in order to try these. It turned out that another farmer at my market-Westwind Gardens, who grow all kinds of peppers and chiles and thrill the crowds with their New Mexican style chile roaster-grew them. I find them delightful-just enough sweetness and hotness at the same time.

  • Angie

    You can find shishito in any Japanese market in California. Try Mitsuwa, Marukai, or Nijiya. They are quite affordable and abundant. Do be careful though as about 1 in 10 are very spicy. Great roasted on the bbq or stir fried in garlic oil.

  • lalf

    I bought my first half pound of these little beauties at the same Santa Fe farmers market some years ago. NOT cheap at the time! For years, I desperately looked for where to buy the seeds, since at that time we lived far from Santa Fe. I was hooked on these things, I’d become a shishito junky. Then we moved to LA, where I was delighted to discover them at a much cheaper price in local Japanese grocery stores.

    I like to cook them slightly differently, with less oil: Heat a non-stick wok until really hot, during which time lightly spray your bowl of washed-and-dried shishitos with EVOO. Toss to coat (I use my hands) and chuck them into the hot wok, tossing quickly until they blister. Then pour them back into the bowl and sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Toss again… and go to heaven.

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