Friday, August 24, 2012

Shishito Peppers

What a day and it's not even close to over. If you live in the NYC area or happen to be watching the news this morning you already know about the shootings near the Empire State Building, which happens to be a block away from my office. It makes me sad that there are people in the world who have no regard for human life and angry that these things happen at all, but with increased occurrence lately. And it serves to remind me how fragile a sense of normalcy can be. With everything under control outside by noon though I was antsy to get out of the office, anxious to continue back to the what I had planned for the day, and just clear my head away from midtown, especially before the claustrophobic evening rush.

I wandered down to the Union Square farmers market and took in the plethora of fresh vegetables and flowers, then turned North and wandered around Eataly. If you haven’t been, it’s worth a trip but go with a plan and don’t go hungry. I’d been treating myself to a weekly Friday Eataly excursion lately and have been surprising myself by getting out of there with less than $20 spent and some pretty good finds for dinner. Last week was perfect pillows of gnocchi, heirloom tomatoes and a surprise acquisition of shishito peppers. This week I walked out of there with a wedge of sharp Parmigiano Reggiano, nearly a pound of sugar snap peas (which I LOVE to snack on raw, but also for a mint pea pesto for dinner) and I basically cleaned them out of shishito peppers. All for a little over $12.
If you aren't familiar, shishito peppers look like a smaller, thinner poblanos but are very mild, maybe 1 in 10 will be hot. There’s a sweet, pepper-y earthiness that’s different from any other pepper I've had and I’m completely entranced with them. They’re in season from around July-October but they’ll always remind me of the dog days of summer, of hot walks through the east village to grab a plate of them at my favorite Japanese haunts. Last week I actually made them for the first time and they may be the easiest thing to cook ever. Toss in oil, blister up in a hot pan and sprinkle with some flaky sea salt. Or fire up grill and lay them over. And on a day like today before making my pesto I thought it’d be wonderful to cook up a few and take them out to the balcony with a glass of rose- another summertime favorite- to snack on while watching my little neighborhood buzz with evening activity and catch my breath in the middle of my gorgeous, tumultuous city before the weekend.
Blistered Shishito Peppers
1/2 lb shishito pepper
1 Tbl. canola or olive oil
Flaky salt to taste
Spritz of lemon- optional

1. Heat a medium saute pan. Add oil and peppers and cook all sides until they blister. Remove from pan, sprinkle with salt, spritz with lemon and serve immediately.

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