It’s finally summer here in the piedmont, and the peppers are about to blow up! We are very passionate about capsicums here at Piedmont Biofarm, and are currently growing about 10 varieties ranging greatly in flavor, size, and heat. The first peppers of the season are superlative not only because they usher in a bounty of other summer produce (eggplant, tomatoes, blueberries, etc.), but because they are some of our favorites.
Shishitos are the perfect summer vegetable due to the fact that they require little preparation. There is nothing worse than blasting your kitchen with heat from the stove by roasting and stewing for hours on end. At the end of a long, hot day, no one wants to spend the rest of their evening doing intensive knife work. If we are to cook during these months, let it be brief or not at all.
The best way to prepare shishitos is by getting some vegetable oil ripping hot, and throwing them whole into the pan until they are blistered and wilting, turning every so often to ensure they are heated evenly. When finished, season with salt, and enjoy these classic tapas. They are not a hot pepper, but once in a while one may be mildly spicy. This is due to the fact that heat and light exposure combined with dry conditions causes the level of capsaicin - the chemical in peppers that gives them their heat - to fluctuate between individual fruits.
Grilling is the perfect solution for keeping your house cool during the summer, and shishitos love the open flame. The peppers themselves already posses a mild smokiness, which is only enhanced by wood fire and smoke (propane is fine, just not as dramatic).
If you want a really special treat, try shaving some hard cheese over roasted shishitos, or throwing leaves of whole basil into the frying pan with the peppers. Tomato sauce is a perfect compliment to these charred beauties, and when they are chopped roughly after cooling, they make a terrific addition to any omelet or scramble. And for July Fourth, go with the shishitos at your cookout: your guests will be so happy you did!