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For the last year or so, Trader Joe’s has been carrying a new item in the refrigerated produce section: Shishito peppers. You may have seen or tried these small green peppers at restaurants and wine bars, where they have become a popular appetizer, usually pan toasted with the thin skin “blistered.”

I remember hesitating to order them when I first ran across them years ago because I was worried they’d be too hot. In reality, these tasty peppers are relatively mild, although they come with the warning that 1 in 10 of the peppers will pack a hot kick.

These peppers are so easy to prepare. I blister them in olive oil in my cast iron skillet, turning them as the skin browns and softens. They will puff up a bit as they cook. Once you remove them, they will shrink up. Sprinkle with salt and serve them immediately while still hot.

After getting shishito peppers regularly at Trader Joe’s, I decided I liked them so much that I picked up a small live plant from the local Japanese market. I planted it in my vegetable garden in early summer and it grew pretty quickly. We harvested about 30 shishitos every other week over the summer and well into the fall. It was the perfect easy appetizer whenever friends stopped by.

Shishito Peppers Cooking with Trader Joe's
Shishito Peppers Blistered Cooking with Trader Joe's

I found the Trader Joe’s peppers to be a bit larger and a bit milder than the ones I’ve had in restaurants.  My kids, ages 11 and 12, gobbled them up. I had planned on making only half the bag but ended up cooking a second batch. If you’re having a few friends over for wine or cocktails, grab a bag or two of these peppers and pair with a simple spread of cheese and crackers.

Shishito Peppers from Trader Joe's

Ingredients

  • 1 bag Shishito Peppers (20-30 peppers)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Coarse or flake salt

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet  (or a nonstick skillet) over medium-high heat. Make sure the skillet gets nice and hot.
  2. Add the peppers (I cooked them in two batches). Use tongs to flip them as they brown and blister. Once they are evenly cooked (a few minutes), remove them and place on paper towel to soak up excess oil. They will be puffed up in the pan and will deflate once removed and placed on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.