One of the joys of the garden is the ability to try new-to-us vegetables and herbs. Every year we try a few new plants to see if they grow well in the garden and if, in our opinion, they are worth growing. One of the new plants last summer was Shishito peppers. A friend kept telling us how they were all the rage in Santa Fe – a place that should have a heightened appreciation for peppers in general. When we came across a couple of Shishito plants at a nursery last year we decided to give them a try. I can always find room for two small plants and if they worked, great. If they didn’t, no big deal.
Shishito peppers are a Japanese frying pepper related to the Spanish Padrón pepper. They are generally mild; although, occasionally one will be spicy. I have eaten one raw and was not impressed. Once they are blistered in a tiny amount of oil in a very hot cast iron pan and a good sea salt is sprinkled over the top, they transcend their otherwise bland taste. One of the things we looked forward to last summer was getting up to the garden to pick a bunch of Shishito peppers and fry them up to have with an evening cocktail in the courtyard. The drive up to the garden creates not just a powerful thirst, but a powerful appetite for something picked fresh from the garden.
Needless to say, the peppers both grew well and were well received last year. This prompted me to order some seeds to start plants for the summer. It is a good thing I started this year’s plants from seed as the nursery did not have any plants this year. I guess not enough people know how good they are yet. Summer started early over the weekend when I was able to harvest the first small amount of Shishito peppers. Based on how they grew last summer, I anticipate having a weekly harvest until fall. I don’t think I will be deficient in vitamin C anytime soon.
There are a number of new vegetables, fruits, and herbs being tried this year. You’ll have to come back again to see what they are.