Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Peck of Pickled Shishito Peppers

Ok, well not quite a PECK but....... hey it's shishito season! What the heck is a shishito, you ask? It's a cute little pepper, Japanese in origin, the name compares the pepper to a lion, and some people think the end of the pepper resembles a lion's head- I didn't see it, but what do I know? 

Shishito peppers are bright green, crispy and glossy
If you haven't had a shishito pepper before you simply must seek them out and try them. They are curious little things. Bright green, thin skinned, crispy and amazingly NOT hot they are a super quick pepper to cook up- Pop them under the broiler for a quick minute, just to start to blister the skins, or grill them in a hot skillet, toss with seasonings and a little olive oil and serve just like that for a quick and easy snack. Thread them on skewers and grill for barbeque fun. Be brave and try them- they really are not a hot pepper.

I found them at Trader Joe's this time but I also see them in
the regular grocery store during shishito season.
With that being said, there is always an occasional rule breaker in the basket- and in this case every once in a while you will encounter a shishito that is a bit on the hot side. How does that happen? Pepper growers think it's caused by stresses to the parent plant, or excessively hot weather during fruiting. It's fine with me because I enjoy hot peppers, and especially in a quick pickle recipe, like we're doing today. 

Shishito Quick Pickles

1/2 pound fresh shishito peppers
1 teaspoon mustard seed (I went with brown seed)
3 cloves garlic
1 dried hot red pepper (or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper)
1 teaspoon salt*
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper*
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/3 cups water

* Instead of the salt and pepper I used a generous teaspoon of Montreal Steak seasoning- I keep the stuff in a ceramic pot on my stovetop and use it to season everything!

Wash and sort the peppers. Cut a slit on each side of the peppers (two slits). Pack the peppers into a clean quart jar. Canning jars work great, so do repurposed commercial jars, since this is a quick pickle ad will not be sealed and shelf stable. Just make sure the jar seals tightly.

Peel the garlic cloves and cut several slits in each clove. Pack into the jar with the peppers. Add the red pepper (I used a dried Red Flame chili), salt, black pepper and mustard seed to the jar.

In a small saucepan bring the water and vinegar to a boil. Pour over the peppers in the jar to cover. Seal the lid and give the jar a gently couple of shakes to distribute the seasonings and dissolve the salt. Allow the jar to rest at room temperature for a couple hours to cool, then pop in the fridge. have to wait a good two or three weeks before eating the peppers. It's difficult, but so worth the wait.

When making quick pickles you can be as creative as you want with the ingredients. Since we don't have to worry about shelf stability we can use any herbs we want, so let your tastebuds be your guide. I like to use all different kinds of dried hot peppers in pickles and chose a Red Flame chili for this batch because I wasn't looking for something super hot, just a tiny hint of heat. Pickled shishitos remind me so much of pepperoncini, like you see used in salads and they are absolutely wonderful drained, sliced and sprinkled over a pizza- they add a kick of pepper taste and keep their fresh crunch because they're not processed in a canning bath.

1 comment:

  1. Nice! I did a similar recipe here but with padrón peppers and white wine vinegar: