If you’d heard the crinkle of deli wrap coming from my direction in recent months, it’s because I’d fallen into a rut — the kind that involves too much takeout being consumed. It’s also the kind of rut that means several corrugated cardboard pizza boxes were sticking out of my recycling bin on the last recycling day.
It’s funny — or I think so, at least — because I cook often. Every day, in fact. Sometimes breakfast, sometimes lunch, sometimes dinner, sometimes all three. But for all I cook, I manage to still find too many occasions to buy takeout.
Don’t get me wrong, takeout can be nice sometimes. It’s easy, fast and without requiring much work on my end. And on busy days, it can help take a little stress off. But when you find yourself in the rut of too much takeout, your wallet and your belly start to feel it.
So, I am calling enough on this not-so-good habit. I don’t need to buy lunch every day (in fact, I am happier just running home to quietly eat at my kitchen table). And on those difficult days where takeout seems so much easier, I am choosing truly easy dinners over takeout.
Of course, with those easy dinners, easy side dishes are key. Salad is always a go-to for us. It’s so easy to toss together lettuce, chopped veggies and fun toppings like sunflower seeds or candied nuts. Snow peas, served raw, can be a fun change-up from the usual cooked veggies too.
This recipe for Roasted Shishito Peppers is also a great quick and easy side dish. And it’s a step away from what you might usually do with peppers.
Shishito peppers are a small, sweet variety of peppers (well, usually … once in awhile you’ll get a spicy one) that are fantastic served browned and blistered. This can be achieved by frying them in hot oil but for a better-for-you take, roasting can do the job too.
In this recipe, the peppers are tossed with a little olive oil and then seasoned with salt and pepper. Toss again, and then spread them out on a baking sheet. Roast them for just a few minutes — until they start to brown and blister. Then they’re ready.
These are eaten as a side dish. Just grab the pepper by the stem, bite and enjoy.
Before you do, however, I do have another (optional) suggestion. I have to agree with Jack Gantos, a children’s writer and the person who introduced me to blistered shishito peppers: They are best served with a squeeze of lemon.
Wondering where you can get these peppers? If they aren’t already growing in your garden (oddly enough, I’d planted some before I knew what they were), I have bought some at the Bangor Farmers’ Market on Sundays here in Bangor. So check your local farmers’ markets and ask around. You may also find them at stores that carry a wider selection of produce.
- 15-20 fresh shishito peppers
- 1 tsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- lemon wedge (optional)
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- In a small bowl, toss together the peppers and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Spread over the baking sheet.
- Bake for 5-8 minutes, until browned and blistered. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with lemon juice (if desired).