Andrew Zimmern's Tip For Perfectly Blistered Shishito Peppers

We don't know about you, but grilling is one of our very favorite ways to cook. There's just something so satisfying about firing up a batch of coals, cracking open a cold beer, and cooking up anything from meats to veggies and even desserts — s'mores, anyone? In our book, when it comes to summertime cooking, there's just nothing better than grilling. 

Normally, when we think of grilling, we think about heartier main dishes such as steak, chicken, burgers, and dogs. But if you've already gone through the effort of lighting a grill, it can be a great medium for preparing some appetizers while your guests wait to chow down on the main event. Grilling is a great way, for example, to toast up some baguette slices and top them with fresh tomatoes for a smoky bruschetta; or, skewer up some shrimp and squeeze them with fresh lemon before serving. We particularly like a suggestion from Andrew Zimmern to grill a batch of shishito peppers — and the "Bizarre Foods" host has a uniquely delicious method for doing just that.

Toss 'em right on the coals

Have you ever tried shishito peppers? These thin-skinned, wrinkly green peppers are often served blistered by the bowlful as an appetizer in restaurants or even as a bar snack in fancier boîtes. It's said that one in ten shishitos is spicy, but generally, this is a mild, sweet pepper that makes a perfect appetizer served alongside a cold beer or cocktail.

Generally, shishito peppers are sautéed in a super hot pan. But if you're already grilling, there's a fast, easy, and fun way to sear shishitos — one that was brought to our attention in a tweet by Andrew Zimmern.

"I can't think of a better bar snack than these gorgeous Japanese peppers," the "Bizarre Foods" host writes. "My favorite way to prepare shishito peppers is blistered directly on the coals with a simple dressing of salt and lemon juice."

On his website, Zimmern describes the process more fully. After lighting some hardwood coals — you won't want to use briquets, which contain lighter fluid, since the peppers will be placed directly on top — you dump the hot coals into the bottom of a grill, tapping them lightly to remove some of the ash. Then, you simply toss your oil-coated, salted peppers right onto the coals until charred on all sides, about two to three minutes total. When the peppers are ready, just spritz them with some lemon juice and serve. We have a feeling these peppers will be the sleeper hit of your next BBQ.