A few weeks back I nominated Fried Stuffed Olives into my unofficial bar snacks hall of fame. This week I have another contender for the list: Grilled Shishito Peppers with Sesame Oil and Salt, courtesy of Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue! While the preparation of the tiny shishitos is minimal (merely brushed with sesame oil, grilled until blistering, and salted), the excitement comes from the somewhat volatile nature of the peppers. Once grilled, the flavor of the peppers is grassy and sweet but one out of every five or so is spicy enough to have you reaching for a cool drink.
Shishito peppers are like the Russian roulette of hors d'oeuvres—you never know what you're going to get. If you're sharing these grilled peppers with a crowd that isn't well-versed in the Scoville scale, you might want to warn them, and of course, have plenty of cold beers on hand to quench the heat.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Planet Barbecue! to give away this week.
- 1 pound shishito peppers
- 2 tablespoons Asian (dark) sesame oil
- Coarse sea salt
Skewer the shishito peppers crosswise on bamboo skewers, leaving about half of the skewer exposed. Lightly brush the peppers on both sides with the sesame oil and season them with sea salt.
Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high.
When ready to grill, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the skewered peppers on the hot grate with the aluminum foil shield under the exposed ends of the skewers to keep them from burning. Grill the peppers until sizzling and browned on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Serve the peppers hot off the grill with extra salt on the side for sprinkling.
Bamboo skewers and an aluminum foil grill shield