Blistered Shishito Peppers

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I’m so excited to be working with my friends at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York this summer.  The farm grows organic vegetables, fruit, flowers, and wheat and over the last few years I have loved experimenting with the different fruits and veggies that show up in the CSA box each week. This year, Amber Waves opened a beautiful new farm store, and to celebrate, I’ll be sharing recipes inspired by what’s in season and available at the farm all summer long. Wherever you live, I hope you’ll find inspiration to cook seasonally, eat locally, and explore delicious new ways eat your way through the summer!

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If you’ve come across shishito peppers, it’s likely been on a restaurant menu. Over the last couple years they seem to be popping up everywhere, and for good reason. Pan-roasted, they’re the perfect salty bite to have with cocktails.  If you haven’t heard of them, be on the lookout- they’re increasingly available at farmer’s markets and supermarkets – Trader Joe’s even carries them now.  Shishitos are generally mild in heat, but the occasional pepper (1 out of 10, or so the legend goes) packs a punch- a spicy surprise for a few lucky guests.

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While restaurants prepare shishitos with all kinds of dipping sauces and toppings, the peppers can get lost under all those flavors. I like to make them simply at home, with a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil, a big pinch of sea salt, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.  They take all of ten minutes to cook and with only four ingredients, they’re one of the easiest ways to start your dinner with a simple, seasonal dish.

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Blistered Shishito Peppers

  • Servings: 2-3 as an hors d'oeuvre
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Ingredients

  • 1 pint shishito peppers (½ pound)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more for serving
  • juice of half a lime

Directions

Heat a cast-iron skillet or stainless steel sauté pan over medium heat. In a medium bowl, toss the peppers with the sesame oil and kosher salt. When the pan is hot (a drop of water should sizzle when it hits the pan) add the peppers. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the peppers are blistered throughout. Off the heat, add the lime juice. Transfer the peppers to a serving bowl and sprinkle sea salt. Serve immediately.

*This recipe is easily doubled. Simple double the ingredients and cook the peppers in 1-pint batches.


Greek Avocado & Herb Dip

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When I have friends over for dinner, I very often have a big crudité platter out on the table when everyone arrives. It’s an easy hors d’ouevre that I can throw together quickly, and one that works for almost any crowd, season and occasion. So often crudités are boring and uninspired: round plastic trays, limp celery, gloopy white dip… you get the idea. But by taking a little extra time to make a delicious homemade dip, and choosing fresh and colorful veggies, you can turn something that’s usually underwhelming into an edible work of art.

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First, let’s talk about this Greek Avocado & Herb Dip. Made with Greek yogurt, feta, and avocado, it’s thick and creamy but much lighter than sour cream-based dips. And with lots of lemon juice and fresh green herbs, it’s  bright and refreshing and perfect for spring. The best part is, it’s really easy to make. All you do is combine the ingredients in a food processor or Vitamix, and blend until everything is smooth and the prettiest shade of green!

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The lemon juice in the dip keeps the avocado from turning brown for a surprisingly long time- even 24 hours later, it’s as green and fresh as it was on day one. This recipe makes a big batch, so it’s perfect for a party, but you can easily halve it. Or, you could make the full recipe and repurpose the leftover dip the next day. Thin it with a little extra water and you’ll have a creamy green goddess salad dressing, or spread it on bread with some chicken breast and roasted red peppers for a seriously good sandwich. It’s even great as a condiment and makes a simple piece of grilled chicken or fish much more exciting.

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But do give this a try with crudités first. My personal year-round faves are radishes, English cucumbers, and endive leaves, which make the perfect little dipping spoons. As spring vegetables come into season, sugar snap peas or thin stalks of fresh asparagus would be great, too. Use your own favorite vegetables, pick the freshest ones you can find, and don’t be surprised when they disappear in no time!

Greek Avocado & Herb Dip

  • Servings: About 1 Quart
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Ingredients

  • 2 small, ripe Hass avocados
  • 2 (7-oz.) containers Fage Greek yogurt (I use 0% fat)
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 4 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ pound feta cheese, diced

Directions

  1. Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out of their shells. Roughly chop the avocado.
  2. Combine all ingredients except the feta in the bowl of a food processor (or powerful blender such as Vitamix) and pulse until combined. Add the feta and 2 tablespoons water and process until completely smooth.  If the dip seems too thick (this will depend on the size of your avocados) add an additional tablespoon or two of water and pulse again until smooth.
  3. Serve immediately with crudités or crackers, or refrigerate in a sealed container with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against of the surface of the dip to prevent browning, for up to 24 hours.