Blistered Shishito Peppers With a Lemony Whipped Goat Cheese Dip
There is a lot of love for peppers on the whole in Greek culture. Whatever you do to them - whether you stuff them, roast them, char grill them - we love them. Grilling red peppers is a thing we do every year in our home - then peel them, bag and freeze them. They always show up on a mezze platter or on the dinner table especially in the summer with a drizzle of olive oil, a little bit of garlic- yup full on chopped garlic in them and seasoned with salt and pepper. The best with some feta or goat cheese and crusty bread. Shishito peppers give me the same feels as those peppers do and so I decided to share a super simple recipe of how to sauté/blister them and serve them up with a super creamy and fabulous goat cheese dip.
What are shishito peppers?
Shishito peppers are a small variety of peppers that come from East Asia. They are small and slender bright green peppers that eventually mature to red, but are mostly eaten green. They have a bit of a wrinkled texture making them look like wrinkled, thin-skinned jalapeños. They only resemble them in look not in flavour. They are also similar to the Spanish Padrone, but the shishito has a distinctive flavor and appearance all on its own.
What do shishito taste like?
Their flavour is lively, slightly sweet with a hint of smokiness. They are addictive because of their sweet, mild and slightly smoky flavour and their size makes them easy to just pop in your mouth and enjoy. Every so often a particular pod will pack some heat and surprise you. About 1 in 10 (or even 1 in 20 I have found) shishito peppers reach the higher range when it comes to heat but even the hottest of those are still quite mild even when compared to jalapeños. Eating them is often compared to a game of Russian roulette. You just don’t know when you might bite into that ‘hot’ one. That definitely adds to the thrill and enjoyment of eating them.
How to eat shishito peppers?
Shishito peppers can be eaten raw like any pepper, but they really shine in recipes when they are cooked. Shishito peppers can be fire roasted on a grill, they can be done in the oven on broil, or pan-fried. The whole pepper is edible but I would not recommend eating the stem. They grill and sauté up quickly as they are small and thin skinned. They pop and hop in the pan quite a bit while they sauté so don’t be startled. All they need is a couple minutes on each side with a few charred spots and then they are out of the pan and ready to enjoy. There are loads of recipes out there to enjoy them in various ways - here is a list of some fun ways to eat them
Hope you enjoy this super easy appetizer or snack! These could easily be made the same way as the greek ones I mentioned earlier with a drizzle of olive oil or chili oil and chopped garlic - keeping things simple is always a good thing but if you want to pair them with something a little creamy and tangy then it’s definitely worth making the whipped goat cheese dip that is shamefully easy to eat by the spoonful - or should I same shamelessly eating. Either way you will love these little guys.
For the peppers
- 1 pound shishito peppers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or grape seed oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the whipped goat cheese dip
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 2½ tablespoons cream/milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- zest from 1 lemon
For the peppers
- Heat olive oil in a medium to large sauté pan until hot but not smoking.
- Add the peppers and cook them over medium, tossing and turning them frequently until they blister. They shouldn’t char except in places approx 5-7 minutes to cook a panful of peppers.
- Remove from heat when done and toss them with sea salt. Slide the peppers into a bowl and serve them hot.
- Pick them up by the stem end and eat the whole thing, discarding the stem. Or enjoy them dipped into the goat cheese dip
For the dip
- In a food processor or high powered blender, Place goat cheese, milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a food processor or blender and process until smooth, approx 1 minute.
- Pour into serving bowl and enjoy with your shishito peppers