If you are unfamiliar with the shishito pepper, then you are in for a real treat. The shishito pepper is a smallish, ribbed, thin-skinned East Asian pepper that ranks between 50 and 200 on the Scoville Scale (the scale that ranks the hotness of peppers -- for a frame of reference, the jalapeno pepper ranks between 2,500 and 8,000; the ghost pepper between 300,000 and 400,000). It is considered mild and sweet, although be forewarned, 1 in 10 packs a hot wallop. Tread with caution if hotter peppers bother you.
They make a great snack before a meal, a nice side with a meal, or a fun accompaniment to your favorite cocktail because they are tremendously easy to prepare, quite tasty, and a heck of a lot of fun to eat. When I first learned about these peppers, and that all I had to do was toss them in a pan with hot oil until they blistered and serve them, I balked. How could this possibly any good, I thought. So I tried it. They were great, and, seriously, that easy. I use only the freshest that I can find and they come from Melissa’s Produce.
To Saute Shishitos:
Heat 1-2 tablespoons of good olive oil in a saute pan until the oil is hot, but not smoking. Rinse and dry the peppers (leave stems in tact as you'll pick them up by the stems to eat them) and when the oil is hot, carefully place them in the pan so that they have room to move around. They will spatter and may smoke, so turn on your vent fan. Allow them to blister on one side, 2-4 minutes, and then either use a tongs to turn them over, or do what I did, and just give them a flip with the pan. When they are sufficiently blistered, but not charred, on both sides, turn them out onto a platter, sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and serve. If you want something a bit more substantial, these are excellent when the ends are dipped into bleu cheese or ranch dressing.
If serving to a group, make a game out of it and give the recipient of the hot pepper a bag of fresh shishitos to take home as a prize.