Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Mild Case of the Hots– Weekend Herb Blogging

Shishito peppers. These are certainly nothing so new. They are popular in Japan, and have invaded many SoCal restaurants over the last number of years. None the less, they are not so easy to find.

Now they seem to have found their way to our little Farmer’s Market. I hadn’t seen them before, despite the many Asian produce stands. But I was happy to see some the last few weeks.

Strangely enough, although I found tons of recipes on the Internet for these peppers, there are few descriptions of them.

Shishito peppers taste very much like a green bell pepper. And, just like the bell pepper, will turn red as they ripen. I suppose the flavor changes to a sweeter one as well. But they are just two to three inches long. And thin. They look more like a chili pepper than a bell pepper.

These peppers are quite mild, not like a chili pepper at all. They are supposed to have a slight heat to them, but I have not noticed much of one.

To be fair, the day we bought the shishito peppers, we also bought some other chili peppers from the same Asian stand. Also little ones. After tasting the shishito peppers, and finding them quite mild, we popped one of the other peppers into our mouths. Whole. And actually chewed them. And swallowed. Just as the heat arrived. The searing, unbelievably painfully hot heat. Suffice to say that it took an hour for the fire of those Thai chili peppers to ease. So maybe by comparison we couldn’t find the heat in the shishitos.

They are also known as Japanese peppers. They seem to originate from Japan, and turn up in a lot of Japanese and fusion style restaurants here.

Some of the recipe variations I’ve seen, and want to try some time, include stuffing the little peppers (oysters or shrimp), coating them with a tempura batter, and then deep frying them. Or blackening them somewhat in a skillet and tossing them with a little sea salt.

But I wanted to start with something that was simpler so we could really give the flavor of these peppers a try.

We found a recipe for a corn salsa that was interesting in that the corn was not cooked. Just the raw kernels were used in a sort of corn tomato salsa. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a recipe that called for raw corn. Maybe it was a misprint? Well, what the hell – eyes closed and jump …

But I thought that would be a good base for the shishito peppers. We made the salsa, then added the shishito peppers, cut into quarters, also raw. For , sponsored by .

And served this on top of some super spicy burgers that TeenBoy made for us. I do not know exactly what he put in these burgers. I saw chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, and a few other things. He put so much of all this in that the burgers were literally red. You could taste it too. Let me tell you!

He also has this thing about Worcestershire sauce. We cooked up 4 pounds of ground meat, and he must have put in at least 1 cup of Worcestershire sauce, maybe more. He ‘sprinkles’ it on during the cooking. The flavor is good. Maybe with a bit more moderation from my perspective. But he seemed to like it well enough.

We put the burgers just on some toasted whole wheat bread. And spooned the salsa on top. Couldn’t be simpler.

Delicious! Quick! Easy! A lot of flavor. The shishito peppers made a nice contribution to the salsa, both in terms of adding some crunch, as well as giving it a subtle background warmth (heat is saying too much). I’m looking forward to trying a few other variations with these peppers.

Shishito and Corn Salsa
Recipe by surfindaave
Serves 4-6 as a side dish

3 ears fresh corn, kernels removed from cobs
20 shishito peppers, cut in quarters lengthwise and cleaned
½ red onion, chopped
juice from 2 limes
1 tsp salt
2 Thai chili peppers, minced very fine
6 roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup cilantro, chopped

In a small bowl, mix the red onion and salt with the lime juice, and let the onion soak for 10 minutes.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, including lime juice. Mix thoroughly. Adjust the salt as necessary.

Serve on top of spicy burgers, or as a side to fish, chicken, etc. Enjoy!

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Blogger Kalyn said...

I haven't seen these kind of peppers here, not even at the farmer's market, (although I've missed the last few weeks.) They sound like something that would be fun to grow. I have grown anaheim chiles, but probably never again, simply because it's impossible to use them all up and after you've gone through the work of preparing them to freeze, the ones in the cans are starting to look pretty good!!

5:22 AM  
Anonymous coffeepot said...

I never grown any but bells, jalapeno, banana mild and banana hots ..but we do use them all.

I love any peppers.

The recipe looks very good. I laughed at your account of teens burgers.

7:57 PM  
Blogger surfindaave said...

Kalyn, Coffeepot, thanks for the comments! You see these peppers a lot, and they are tasty - sort of a spicier bell pepper. I would think that are no harder to grow than other peppers, but as noted recently, I'm not the growing expert!

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Viagra Discount said...

so delicious and nutritional, an corn salsa is one of the most delicious things in Texas, I feel so happy because this recipe is wonderful!

8:08 AM  

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