Shishito peppers hit my radar a few years ago when I had them at a restaurant. I loved them, but had never seen them at my farmer’s markets or grocery stores so I hadn’t ever prepared them at home. A few months back I discovered Trader Joe’s was carrying them so I bought a bag and made them for dinner one night. My husband was immediately a fan- so much so that he is now tending a shishito plant on our back stoop, and we daydream about having our own shishito farm. Seriously- we’re that into these peppers.
Shishitos, which originate from Japan, are petite peppers, with thin skin, and a slightly sweet, smoky flavor. Most are fairly mild, though they say 1 in 10 might be spicy and I definitely stumble upon a spicy one every time we have them. They’re best when prepared simply- blistered on the grill or stovetop, then topped with a little lime juice and some sea salt. Sesame oil, togarashi, or ponzu will add a bit more asian flavor. Lately, we’ve been enjoying them with lime and cilantro though, so I came up with this simple cilantro dipping sauce that’s super quick to make and adds tons of complimentary flavor.
Grilled Shishitos with Cilantro Dipping Sauce
Prep Time: 10 min (plus grilling time)
1/2 pound shishito peppers
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
Sea salt (or any finishing salt you enjoy)
While your grill is pre-heating, wash and dry the peppers. Arrange on metal skewers (you can use wood too, just be sure to soak them first). Brush with olive or sesame oil on both sides.
Wash cilantro and cut off lower portion of the stems. Finely mince the leaves and upper stems.
Over medium high heat, grill until evenly blistered, turning (carefully- those skewers can get hot) as needed.
While peppers are grilling, mix cilantro into lime juice and set aside.
Once peppers are blistered to perfection, remove from grill and serve with the cilantro-lime mixture on the side. Remove peppers from skewers and sprinkle with sea salt. Dip in cilantro-lime sauce and enjoy!
(Tip- have a bowl on the table for discarded stems so they don’t pile up on everyone’s plates).
Couldn’t be easier- right? If you’re doing some grilling this Labor Day weekend, try serving these alongside your main dish- maybe they’ll have you dreaming of joining me in my pepper farm ventures!