Tips for Tuesday
Blistered Shishito Peppers with Heirloom Tomato, Red Onion, & Herbed Chevre

Y'all. These shishito peppers, well they're a big deal.

They are the hipster-riffic appetizer of the moment.
They are on the menus of the places to eat.
They are eaten roasted, grilled, fried, broiled, and tossed with salt, olive oil, balsamic, garlic, maybe covered or tossed with cheese or sausage or almost anything you can imagine-- or nothing at all.
They are in season right now (don't wait much longer!).
They are the bomb.

On a recent trip to one of Austin's local farmers' market, I hit the jackpot. Local Johnson's Backyard Garden set me up with the peppers and the onions, to accompany the lovely Indigo Rose heirloom tomatoes I was cradling in my palms like precious treasures.  Because they were.  And their cost was commensurate with their value.  (Let me just say, right here, that heirloom tomatoes cost way more than the conventional mealy, tasteless tomato I'm purchasing for half the price, and getting less than half of the satisfaction. In tomatoland, you get what you pay for.)

Shishitos are small Japanese peppers, mildly spicy and sweet, about the size of serrano, but without the assertive heat that hotter chile peppers pack.  Mostly.

Because the fun of shishitos are that about one in ten pack a bit more wallop than the rest.  And no amount of studying will determine which pepper will surprise you a bit.  Each bite is accompanied by 'is this the one?', and all eyes are on the eater.

Admittedly, even the offender is still much less aggressive in heat than its cousins, serranos, jalapenos, habaneros, and the like.

Simply toasted with a drizzle of oil and tossed with a little coarse ground salt, a bowlful is blissful, shared, with a few ice-cold beers.

But have I ever been known to leave well-enough alone?



one pint of fresh shishito peppers
one pint of heirloom Indigo Rose tomatoes
one red onion

about one tablespoon olive oil

the juice and zest of one lemon
sesame seeds
coarse ground kosher salt
(see optional seasonings, below)

--served with herbed chevre, either purchased as is, or home-seasoned, using the herbs with which you season the vegetables.

Note:  Chevre can be very soft, or it can be found to be a bit firmer.  I began with a firm chevre, seasoned it as above, added a bit of minced fresh garlic, and enough heavy whipping cream to allow it the softness necessary for spreading, a little more than a teaspoon.

Serve, plain, as an appetizer, tossed together for a tasty side or lunch, or, if desired, with crostini, or crackers

The Process

Preheat broiler.  (Alternatively, you may grill, or pan-roast in a cast-iron skillet over high heat.)

Wash vegetables and dry thoroughly.

In a small pan,
1.   Place washed and completely dried whole shishito peppers.
2.   Add whole, washed and thoroughly dried small, heirloom tomatoes.
3.   Slice whole onion in half, lengthwise, and into bite-sized wedges and toss with peppers and tomatoes.
4.  Season--For this batch, I drizzled with olive oil, the juice and zest of a lemon, coarse ground salt, and sesame seeds.

On the top rack under the preheated broiler, place pan, and watch closely, with oven door ajar, until vegetables begin to char.  Remove from heat, carefully, then toss and return to broiler, repeating until most sides of vegetables are blistered.

Remove from heat, allow to cool a bit, taste, and correct seasonings.

While the ease of standard prep of a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of good salt makes these little babies so simple and attractive, they are the perfect foil for seasoning combinations that are bit, like me, out of the ordinary.

  • Sesame oil, either toasted or not, as well as hot chili oil, in combination with olive oil (to lower the smoke point just a bit) lends an entirely different flavor profile, well-suited to seasonings like freshly grated ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, and Asian spice blends.  
  • To go in a Spanish-inspired direction, consider a 'grassier' olive oil, perhaps with sliced Marconi almonds and smoked paprika.  
  • Go oil-less with your favorite vinegar or citrus-based sauces like Ponzu, as well as soy or tamari sauces. 
  • Italian-inspired flavors of garlic and Parmesan cheese, perhaps with coarsely ground black pepper? And then dip them into a golden runny yolk of a poached egg??? Well, you can see how fun these little treats can be.

Play around a bit with your favorite flavors and see what masterpiece you develop!

And feeling a little hot and spicy these days, yourself?  Learn how, and why, to heat up, and cool off, with these, and other nutritional power-packing  peppers.  Visit Tips For Tuesday, Superfood: Hot Peppers! and find scads of delicious peppery dishes, all by fellow Austin Food Blogger Alliance members by visiting the link above, on Notes From Maggie's Farm.


  1. First time I had these peppers was at Winebelly-Holy pepper, I could not stop eating them. Now I order them whenever I see them on a menu. What I really need to do is try your recipe and just make them here at the house. Thanks for the yummy reminder to get on this, before summer is over.

    1. I'm still seeing them at Johnson's Backyard Gardens booth at the Cedar Park and Mueller Farmers Markets, and I saw them early in the season at Central Market, North Lamar. I love those little babies, too! (and I can't wait to try Winebelly! I've heard so many great things!)

  2. Oh my. This is just about the best thing ever!

    1. Thanks, Lauren! As always, it was great to see you at the market this weekend!


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