And they’re versatile: Chef Eric Hara of davidburke and donatella pairs them with Japanese (bonito, yuzu, soy, lime, tempura) and Mediterranean (tomatoes, olives, shallots) flavors. The recipes cross boundaries, mixing Japanese peppers with Ligurian olives and Chinese rice wine, and make a point: this is a pepper to be used as a central component of a dish, not just a flavoring. How many of its brethren can say that?
Raw shishitos are reminiscent of green peppers in flavor and texture, but with the occasional mild burn of capsaicin that barely registers on the Scoville scale. They are easy to work with but somewhat hard to find – Japanese markets and farmers markets are the best bet; late summer and fall are their seasons.