Tempura, salsa and more great ideas for shishito peppers, now in season

Shishito peppers for sale at the Santa Monica farmers market.
(Noelle Carter / Los Angeles Times)

What’s in season: Walk into almost any Japanese restaurant and shishito peppers are as much a staple on the menu as bowls of edamame. The Japanese peppers can be found year-round, though the growing season typically extends from summer to early fall. The peppers range from a vibrant green to deep red as they mature. Thin-skinned, the delicate, finger-length peppers are known for a mild sweetness offset with a gentle heat. Tame as they often are, every once in a while a pepper packs a jolt of heat, and tackling a plate can be quite an adventure.

9 recipes with shishito peppers »

What to cook: Dip the peppers in a light tempura batter and fry, serving the simple dish alongside a bowl of ponzu sauce. Chop the peppers to add flavor and a touch of heat to salads and salsas. Fold the peppers into frittatas or grilled-cheese sandwiches, or consider grilling them, then topping with a little soy sauce and bonito flakes, as part of an outdoor party menu.


What’s on the horizon: Black Emerald, Thomcord and other varieties of grapes are beginning to show up at various markets.