I've been seeing these small, mild Japanese peppers popping up on menus lately. Have you?
are 2-4 inches long and taste like a bell pepper and jalapeno hybrid - a little sweet and some have a surprising (and strong!) spicy kick. Usually served roasted or pan fried until soft and sprinkled with sea salt, they are an appetizer standard at many yakitori and sushi restaurants. Lately, I've also seen them on Spanish and Lebanese menus.
However, once I tried finding them in the market, they suddenly seemed to disappear. Supermarkets were flush with jalapenos and serranos, but had never heard of the little peppers, and the vendors at several farmers' markets had no suggestions on where to find them. Finally, I found a Japanese grocery that carried them and they are fast becoming a standard appetizer in my home as well.
Have you tried shishito peppers?
• Flash-Fried Shishito Peppers at Gourmet
Related Link: Batch Roasting: How to Roast Several Peppers at Once
(Images: Stephanie Barlow)