Shishito peppers: We hardly knew thee.
Formerly, we thought of the plump, glossy-green peppers in one arena only: blistered, sea-salted and served as a pre-main course snack.
But that’s all changed since we met Noah Robbins, the CEO and Founder of Ark Foods. His Brooklyn-born company is committed to spreading the love about the little green guy.
On the Scoville scale, the shishito hits a peppy sweet spot that falls below the jalapeno’s assertive punch and above the bell pepper’s mellowness. A serving of shishitos(about 7-9 peppers) also provides 170% of your daily Vitamin C and 80% of your daily Vitamin A. Robbins also let us in on a shishito secret that keeps eating them interesting: One in ten has an extra spice kick.
Robbins, a second generation farmer, left his gallery job in Chelsea to connect back with his roots when he realized he couldn’t find the makings for his favorite appetizer anywhere. Now he’s got a Delray, Florida farm bursting with shishitos and almost as many ideas for how to prepare them as he does non-GMO seeds in the ground.
While the pepper’s thin-walls make it an ideal roasting candidate, there is so much more to be done with a pile of them. Think of shishitos as an easy substitute for French fries or popcorn and as a flavor force in dishes like this fresh gazpacho recipe. Try roasting a batch and using them on tacos, as an easy salsa over morning eggs or on crostini with a slick of ricotta and honey.
Look for Ark Foods peppers at these stores, or ask for shishitos at your local farmers’ market through the fall.
1 package (4 oz.) Ark Foods Shishito Peppers (about 15 to 18)
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes—peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cup cucumber—peeled, seeded and chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup tomato juice
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Sliced avocado, for serving
Cilantro, for serving
Sour cream, for serving
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. With a paring knife, score the bottom of the tomatoes with an X. Drop the tomatoes and shishito peppers into the boiling water. Remove tomatoes after 15 seconds. Remove the shishitos after 3 minutes. Transfer both to an ice bath and let cool for about 1 minute. Remove and pat dry.
2. Stem and coarsely chop the shishitos and place in a large bowl. Peel, core and seed the tomatoes and add to the shishitos. Add 1/2 cup tomato juice to the mixture. Add the cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, garlic clove, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the mixture into a blender and puree at high speed for 15 seconds. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.
3. Serve the gazpacho with avocado, sour cream and cilantro.