Pan-Fried Shishito Peppers: Paleo Appetizer Recipe

shishito peppers recipe paleo

This post and recipe for Pan-Fried Shishito Peppers is by my husband G who was inspired by a young farmer at our local CSA to turn the pepper bounty from Saturday’s pick-up into a tasty appetizer. Take it away G!

What comes to mind when you hear the word “pepper”? Other than “salt,” I mean.

For some of us, it might conjure up sensations like hot, spicy, or burning. For others, it may be colors like the vibrant red of a shiny bell pepper, the brilliant green of a jalapeño, or the fiery orange of a habanero. Still others may be reminded of a country, like Mexico, the appropriately named Chile, or even…Japan?

shishito peppers paleo appetizer

That’s right – Japan! Land of sushi, sashimi, New York Yankee’s outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, the world’s coolest electronic gadgets, Godzilla, books that are read from right-to-left, and the tasty Shishito pepper.

shishito peppers paleo appetizer

We found some Shishitos at our local CSA farm (along with all sorts of fresh and beautiful produce), and filled our weekly basket with 9-10 peppers. One of the farmers said the shishito peppers are delicious when sauteéd in olive oil and salted to taste, so that’s what we did, with minor modifications.

Paleo Spirit | Paleo Appetizer

Instead of using only olive oil, we added equal amounts of leaf lard -the highest grade of lard from the visceral – or “soft” – fat from around the kidneys and loin of the pig. It lacks any real pork or meaty flavor, making it an excellent neutral-flavored cooking fat with a high smoking point. Leaf lard is particularly prized by bakers for use in producing moist, flaky pie crusts.( We used leaf lard it in this recipe because we had it on hand. But you could use regular lard given the savory flavor of the dish.)

leaf lard

We purchased the lard a few weeks back at Red Apron Butchery during the book release party for the cookbook Beyond Bacon.

Pan-Fried Shishito Peppers

Here’s how I made this amazing paleo appetizer recipe:

To make the pan-fried shishito peppers, first, I heated some of the lard along with some olive oil (for flavor) in a cast iron skillet until hot. Next, I also added the peppers and fried them for about 10 minutes, adding in some minced garlic in the last minute, then sprinkling the finished peppers with fresh lemon juice and sea salt. The result was the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and spicy – enough to please most any palate.

Getting back to the original question, when I hear the word “pepper,” I instantly think back to memories of my Dad watching football on a Sunday afternoon with a plate of jalapeño peppers and sliced cheese. He’d eat the jalapeños whole, turn beet red, and sweat like a madman. It looked painful, but he said he enjoyed it. Funny, but he often complained of heartburn…I wonder if there was a connection?

Fried Shishito Peppers | Paleo Appetizer Recipe

Pan-Fried Shishito Peppers Recipe

Ingredients 

  • 8-10 shishito peppers or padron peppers
  • 2 teaspoons of oil (I use a combination of lard and olive oil)
  • 1 fresh clove of garlic, minced
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • a few pinches of sea salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes then add the fat to the pan and heat until almost smoking.
  2. Add the peppers to the pan and fry, stirring occasionally, until charred and somewhat shrunken – about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the minced garlic at the end – cooking and gently stirring for about one minute – avoid burning the garlic.
  4. Remove fried shishito peppers to a serving dish, squeeze on the juice of half a lemon then sprinkle with sea salt.
  5. Serve immediately.

Serves 2 for a quick appetizer – double the recipe for a heftier portion or for more persons.

paleo shishito peppers recipe

The fried peppers are amazing – it’s a perfect paleo appetizer that would go great with a gluten-free beer or one of Lea’s Fireball Margaritas (if you can take the heat!)

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5 thoughts on “Pan-Fried Shishito Peppers: Paleo Appetizer Recipe

  1. i guess i could google it, but i have never heard of this Leaf Lard. Why is it so highly prized?
    we’ve been getting a ton of what I think are banana peppers from our veggie share. I’ve been stuffing them with cream cheese (not paleo of course) and wrapping them in farm bacon! YUMMO!

    • I updated the post to include more about leaf lard. It’s prized because it comes from a part of the pig that provides fat that is odorless and thus pastry chefs like to use it in things like pie crusts. This is a savory dish and therefore you could use regular lard – we used leaf lard merely because we had it on hand and know it came from pasture-raised pigs.

    • Chris, It kinda kills me that we missed that. I once posted “Sweat Pea” instead of “Sweet Pea” and that was pretty bad too. Thanks for reading!

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