"Shishito Pepper"

"Shishito Pepper Plant"

While staring at the multitudes of pepper varieties in my local nursery I encountered a mom and her young enthusiastic child also selecting peppers for their garden. Together they were deciding how many shishito peppers they were going to purchase. I was there to buy jalepenos, anaheims, corno del toro (horn of the bull) and maybe some pignose pimentos.  After asking her  about the shishitos I found that they are a small, 2-4″ mild Japanese pepper. She told me the plants are beautiful and that her husband who is Japanese LOVES  them  especially cooked in tempura batter. We decided to squeeze this new pepper into our 3’x4′ bed and  prepared the space with  organic soil amendments and lots of trepidation. Our weather in Seattle has been running cold and back in May when we were considering the timing of putting in the peppers, tomatoes and squash, the prospects of growing loads of peppers this summer seemed a little grim. We planted two each of the jalapenos, anaheims and corno del toro and stuck the dainty shishito on the edge. As the summer has progressed the peppers have struggled with lots of gray days and cold nights. We have kept the peppers under a plastic hoop cover all summer, barely opening it up even on warm days. Truth be told there were a few nights early on when we left the plastic open overnight, may be the reason for the irritable peppers. They have struggled, barely making their flowers and as of now we have 3 anaheims, 1 jalapeno,  2 corno del toros  and YES, lots of little shishitos. Yesterday I picked four of the largest shishito peppers to eat with Richard’s famous pintos, our fresh picked cilantro,  walla walla onions and a little salsa. After checking out recipes on the internet I found  a simple way of preparing them. I heated up a little olive oil in an iron skillet, some coarse salt and tossed them in. The idea is to blister and brown the skin without burning the little things  The pepper softened under the heat and the whole pepper including the stem was edible and delicious. The peppers added a lovely mild pepper flavor to our lunch.Needless to say the shishito peppers will take over more of our  coveted  garden space next summer.