My new crush may very well be shishito peppers with sea salt. I tried them for the first time at a restaurant a few months ago and now I've been seeing them everywhere! They're popping up at restaurants, the farmer's market, and all over that make-me-jealous-of-what-you're-eating app called Instagram. Well, it's finally time to put these peppers where they belong — muddled in an ice-cold margarita with a few extra for munching alongside.
It's summer time and I'll use any excuse I can to cook on the grill — and just about any excuse to have a cocktail while grilling. So for this recipe, I wrapped the peppers in foil and put them on the grill so they can roast over a blazing hot flame — giving them that beautiful blistered finish.
Don't fret if you can't find shishitos in your area. This same technique can be done with other peppers too. Bell peppers, serrano peppers, and jalapeno's are all great roasted alternatives. Just remember the smaller the pepper the stronger the kick. Choose wisely.
3 ounce reposado tequila
1 1/2 ounce Cointreau or Triple Sec
1 lime, cut into pieces
3 roasted shishito peppers (recipe below)
Rinse your margarita glass under some cold water and rim with salt. Place the glass in the freezer to chill. Meanwhile, muddle the lime pieces and 2 of the shishito peppers (caps removed) in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Take time to press while twisting to release all the juices and oils.
Add the liquid ingredients and fill shaker with ice. Add shaker top and then shake vigorously until very cold. Strain into the chilled margarita glass, and float a shishito pepper on top. Serve with extra roasted shishito peppers and toast to summer!
Note: If you're substituting a hotter pepper like a jalapeno or serrano, be sure to only use about 2-3 slices in the margarita. A whole muddled jalapeno may very well knock you out.
Roasted Shishito Peppers
1 pint (2 cups) shishito peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat the grill or oven until very hot, about 450°F. Lay out a sheet of aluminum foil and place the shishito peppers on top. Add the olive oil and kosher salt and toss until the peppers are well coated.
Wrap up foil on all four sides to make a foil packet. Make sure its sealed tight enough so no oil will leak out, yet loose enough to allow for steam. Place packet onto grill (or oven) and let roast covered for 5-7 minutes per side. When they're ready you should hear the packet sizzling inside, unwrap and add some more sea salt or maldon flakes to taste. Serve hot.
(Images: Chris Perez)