Yes, you read that right, bar food! And we're not talking chicken wings and fries. Though green may not be the most popular color for bar snacks we think it's the best. Our favorite example being these blistered and smothered shishito peppers. Between the slightly spicy and citrus natural flavor of the peppers, richness of the ghee they are cooked in, and the salty sweet tang of the miso and soy sauce, your taste buds won't know what hit them. After this recipe we swear you'll be reaching for vegetables with your next beer. But first let's explain ghee and find out what the heck a shishito is...
Shishito is a variety of pepper native to Japan and popular as a Japanese appetizer or bar snack. They are small, slender and green with soft skin with little ridges (as you can see pictured below). They have a mild spice and citrus flavor though they do pack a surprise; about one in ten have a spicy heat that may surprise you if you're not expecting it. Shishito peppers are becoming more popular and available so keep an eye out at your local grocer or farmers market this summer. We found ours at Trader Joe's. If you absolutely cannot find them (dang!) other varieties of small peppers can work in the recipe such as mini bell peppers. Now we cooked our shishito peppers in ghee which is a class of clarified butter popular in Indian cooking. Ghee is created by slowly cooking butter over an open flame until the water is evaporated and the fat separates from the milk solids, creating a golden hue (pictured above) and strong buttery flavor. This process removes the milk proteins found in butter, casein and whey. These proteins typically burn at high temperatures, so without them, ghee has a higher smoke point than butter and also olive oil making it superior for cooking at high temperatures. Smoke point is important because it is the temperature at which the fat or oil starts to degrade or breakdown and produce free radicals and chemical compounds This can produce an off taste in the food being cooked, decrease the nutritional quality of the oil, and create substances that are less than ideal for ingesting into your body. On the shelf ghee does not go rancid as quickly as butter and can be kept at room temperature in an air tight container for several months. Ghee is rich in fat soluble vitamin A and also contains vitamin E and K. Also, remember that having a fat source when consuming fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K in other foods helps to improve absorption; lucky because like most vegetables shishito peppers contain a small amount of vitamins A and K! You can ghee at specialty grocers, ethnic grocers and possibly in the natural or ethic aisles at your local grocer. We know that all Whole Foods and Trader Joe's carry ghee and/or clarified butter.
Sweet and Salty Shishito Bites
PREP TIME: 5 mins
TOTAL TIME: 15 mins
Servings: 1-2, depending on how much you like to share
6 oz bag of Shishito peppers (about 30 peppers)
1 Tbsp ghee (organic, grass-fed preferred) or coconut oil
Sprinkle of sea salt
1 Tbsp miso (we used River Valley's adzuki bean miso)
1 Tbsp organic soy sauce
1 1/4 tsp honey
Add ghee to a medium wok, turn to high heat and allow ghee to fully melt. Add shishito peppers to pan, sprinkle with sea salt, and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring peppers until blistered. If your peppers are different sizes and the smaller ones become fully cooked faster, remove them from the wok with tongs while the larger peppers continue to cook.
While peppers are cooking, stir together the miso, soy, and honey. Drizzle the dressing over cooked peppers and get snacking using fingers only please!
Did you get a hot one? Either way we hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. Next time you're perusing a bar menu keep your eye out for these babies (small peppers that is) and think of this recipe as a sure to impress next time you're entertaining. Haven't we all had enough fries? Debatable, but still, it's about time for bar food to go green!
Jess & Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.