What is your favorite bar food?
I’m not much of a bar person – I don’t really drink – but I love the concept of bar food. Tasty, greasy, sometimes spicy, snackable foods.
I particularly love izakayas – bar food, but make it Japanese.
Edamame, karaage, sashimi, tebasaki, yakitori… y’all can keep your booze, I’m just here for the food.
One dish often found at izakayas and yakitoryas is grilled shishito peppers. A generally non-spicy pepper (although once in a while you’ll get one with a kick), they’re often grilled in the same manner as yakitori.
Today we are making something that, to me, is the perfect intersection between American and Japanese bar food. (The perfect intersection between American and Japanese? It’s me!)
This salt n’ pepper shishito recipe from Life’s Ambrosia is something that we make every time we can get our hands on shishito peppers, because it’s so snackably delicious! They’re smoky and garlicky and have that craveable salt n’ pepper flavor that you so often find in Chinese cooking.
Whether you’re a beer kind of person or not… you should definitely try these if you ever see shishito peppers in the market.
First things first, we’re going to make the FLAVAH. This garlicky oil will be added to the shishito peppers as soon as they’re done cooking, so we gotta make it ahead of time.
Mince a bunch of garlic. Like, a BUNCH. The recipe says six cloves, which I’m taking to mean like 20 tiny ones. We’re using fresh garlic and mincing it ourselves this time, because you want those fried garlicky bits at the end.
Mix that with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Now it’s time to prep our peppers – about half a pound or so of shishitos. They should be firm and without blemishes. We’re going to cook them whole, and they’re typically not a spicy pepper, so there’s no need to remove the seeds.
We’re going to dry-fry them – so no oil or anything – in a cast-iron pan until they’re nice and blistered. Get some color on them, start to smell that fruity, smoky char. The shishitos will transform from that bright vibrant green color to a lighter yellow-green, and start to soften as they cook.
Turn off the heat, and add that oil mixture in with the peppers. Cast iron retains heat, so this will continue to cook things – cook just a minute more. You definitely don’t want to burn your garlic, because it will end up bitter, but a nice brown will get the perfect toasty garlic flavor. Everything should smell toasty and garlicky and delicious by now.
Add in a sliced green onion for that bright pop of flavor, remove it from the pan immediately so none of that delicate garlic burns, and you’re ready to eat!
Salt n’ Pepper Shishito Peppers
from Life’s Ambrosia
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/2 – 3/4 pound shishito peppers
- 1 green onion, diced
- Stir together garlic, olive oil, black pepper and salt.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add in peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until they start to blister and blacken.
- Once most of the peppers have started to blacken and soften, turn off the heat and add in the garlic oil. Toss the peppers to coat for 1 minute, so the residual heat just cooks the garlic. Add in green onions and toss once more.
- Immediately transfer to a serving platter and serve hot.
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