The first weeks of June had me believing my thumb was green. Yellow blooms covered my spindly tomato plants, summer squash leaves grew to jungle-sized proportions, and even my strawberry plant, planted per a two-year old’s whim, seemed happy to produce berry after berry. As far as gardens go, mine felt pretty magical.
Then I went on vacation and things went wild. Upon my return, I found watermelon vines spiraled across our lawn. The “bush” cucumber I had purchased made my tomato plants into its personal trellis. My squash and zucchini, once brimming with health, tottered dangerously thanks to an infestation of vine borers. Despite my attempts to save them, they ultimately had to be pulled from the ground.
I straightened and tidied as best I could, but since July I’ve mainly been on a quest to keep my garden from taking over. It remains far from beautiful (despite pink confetti courtesy of a nearby crepe myrtle). I’m doing my best to tamp down my need for order and instead am enjoying the tomatoes which are beginning to ripen with regularity, the cucumbers growing at an alarming rate, and the lone watermelon. I’m also continuing to harvest lots of shishito peppers, because of all the plants in my summer garden it has been the most prolific.
The shishito pepper, which is popular in Japanese cooking, is typically grilled over high heat although I find that the broiler works just as well for blackening its thin outer skin. I like to toss my peppers with a bit of sesame oil before sprinkling them generously with salt. Then all one needs is high heat and in minutes the skin is blistered and blackened to yummy perfection.
I’ve enjoyed these peppers all summer as an appetizer and their mild taste means that all can enjoy. Although I will caution that when eating shishitos you are engaging in pepper roulette as there is always one or two that packs a fiery punch. Happy roasting!
Roasted Shishito Peppers – Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 4 as a small bite/appetizer
I am having great success with shishito peppers in my garden this year and for my readers who garden I highly recommend adding a plant to next year’s summer plot. If your thumb isn’t green, seek out shishito peppers at your local farmer’s market. As the pepper grows in popularity, it is becoming more widely available.
16 shishito peppers
Sesame oil, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Preheat a grill or broiler over high heat. If roasting under a broiler, place a rack in the top of the oven just a couple of inches below the broiler.
In a medium bowl, drizzle the peppers with sesame oil (a very light coating is perfect) and generously sprinkle with kosher salt. Toss to combine.
If using a grill, thread the peppers crosswise on skewers. Grill over high heat, turning once, for about 3 to 5 minutes until peppers are blistered and puffed. Remove from heat and sprinkle with additional salt if needed. Serve immediately.
If planning to broil the peppers, spread them out on a small baking sheet. Broil the peppers on the top rack, for about 3 minutes, turning once. When ready to eat, peppers will be blistered and puffed. Sprinkle with additional salt, if needed, and serve immediately.