Sautéed shishitos are absolutely the best thing to nibble on with drinks, and they're insanely easy to prepare. Padrón peppers can be treated exactly the same way, but they can be hot, so choose accordingly.
The pepper is small and finger-long, slender, and thin-walled. Although it turns from green to red upon ripening, it is usually harvested while green. The name refers to the fact that the tip of the chili pepper (唐辛子 tōgarashi) looks like the head of a lion (獅子 shishi); in Japanese it is often abbreviated as shishitō.
About one out of every ten peppers is spicy. The occurrence of pungent fruit is induced by such factors as exposure to sunlight, and other environmental stresses.
The prefectural agricultural testing center at Kishigawa, Wakayama stated in 2005 that capsaicin forms more easily in hot and dry conditions in the summer, and even experts may not be able to distinguish relative hotness on the same plant.
For cooking, a hole is poked in the pepper beforehand to keep expanding hot air from bursting the pepper. It may be skewered then broiled (grilled), or pan-fried in oil, stewed in a soy sauce- and dashi-based liquid, or simply eaten raw in a salad or as a condiment. It is thin-skinned and will blister and char easily compared with thicker-skinned varieties of peppers.
A Simple Recipe to try this The Farm favorite pepper!
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups whole shishito peppers or Padrón chiles
- Flaky sea salt
Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cook peppers, turning occasionally, until they begin to blister on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.