Swap-Box Hero: Quickled Shishitos

Shishitos are hot.

Not hot hot (only one in ten have enough capsaicin to read as spicy). But hot trendy, I guess. Over the past six or seven years, they’ve shown up in our sharebox just three or four times—total. But if last night’s “predicted contents” email from LFFC holds, tomorrow will be at least the third batch we get from the CSA this summer. I’m okay with that.

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A couple weeks ago, a bunch of our picker-uppers shunned Shishitos; at the end of the night, our swap box contained six quarts of these thin-skinned, versatile beauties. I snagged an extra portion (I had a plan), and we gave the rest away to staff and customers.

Our neighborhood’s annual block party was that Saturday, and we still hadn’t settled on what we’d be bringing. But I thought maybe a smoky, quick-pickled pepper might lend a refreshing sweet-sour counterpoint to the buffet’s rich pulled pork, fried chicken, and burgers. I was not wrong. And after draping some of the leftovers over cheesy scrambled eggs this past Sunday morning, I was glad I’d made a double batch.

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Charred, Quickled Shishito Peppers

Once you cook the peppers, they’ll collapse a great deal, allowing you to squish about a quart of them into a one-pint jar. They’ll keep in your fridge for the next couple months.

  • 1 quart of Shishito peppers, rinsed and thoroughly dried
  • 3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2-1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2-4 tbsp grapeseed or canola oil (for the pan)

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Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir until all the sugar and salt dissolve. Set the brine aside to cool a bit while you blister the peppers.

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Those drops of water are not your friends. To avoid dangerous spattering when the peppers hit the hot oil, give them plenty of time to air dry (or shake them really well).

Working in batches, fry a handful of peppers in a tablespoon of hot oil, until lightly charred on all sides.

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Don’t crowd the pan. Give your peppers plenty of room so they blister up instead of steam.

Pack the cooked peppers tightly into a clean, one-pint Mason jar or bowl with a lid. Add the brine. Let the jar rest on your counter until completely cool, then cover and  refrigerate until you’re ready to use them.

 

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Too many to fit in the jar? Lucky you. Sprinkle them with salt and lime, and eat them like popcorn while you wash up the dishes.

 

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