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by Heather Sperling
photoCredit Antoinette Bruno
November 2007

hese bright green pods are often seen around town blistered and seasoned with a generous toss of coarse salt – as a stand-in for Spanish pimientos de padron. When seared over high heat, shishitos flaunt the same soft, slightly sweet, bit of spice, eat-in-one-salty-charred-bite appeal as the harder to find Spanish padrons, but their roots, as the name implies, lie further east. Averaging 3 inches long, the shiny peppers are common additions to stir-fries and tempuras, and their thin, crisp walls stand up well in flash-frying. » more

  Recipes from Eric Hara of of davidburke and donatella
Shishito Peppers with Yuzu, Bonito and Soy
Tempura Shishito Peppers
Sauteed Sweetbreads with Shishito Peppers, Tomatoes, and Taggiasche Olives

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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.



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