You may have had blistered shishito peppers, but chef Anthony Sasso takes them to a completely different level of delicious. At The Tapas Bar at La Sirena, he’s serving them with a huancaína-inspired sauce made with onions, walnuts and a hefty serving of Parmigiano-Reggiano, and topping it all off with a cooked sherry vinaigrette and fresh basil leaves. Can’t beat it.
1 cup parmesan chunks (or ½ cup grated)
½ cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic
½ small red onion, peeled and quartered
1 T aji Amarillo paste (or ¼ of a habanero)
2 limes, quartered (save 2 quarters for garnish)
For Garlic Vinaigrette
12 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced lengthwise
¼ cup olive oil
1 T sherry vinegar
Pinch red pepper flakes
For Blistered Shishito Peppers
32 shishito peppers
2 T olive oil for pan frying
1/8 cup parmesan shavings (made using a peeler)
¼ cup basil leaves, lightly packed
- Make the huancaína. Put the parmesan, walnuts, garlic, red onion and Amarillo paste in the blender. Add about ¼ cup of water and start mixing until smooth and the onsistency of a thick milkshake. Season with salt and lime juice (remember to save two lime wedges for garnish). Set aside.
- For the hot garlic vinaigrette, put the garlic slices and oil into a small sautee pan and set over a medium flame, slowly bringing the oil up to a temperature where the garlic gets golden around the edges, about 6-8 minutes. The oil will begin to bubble pretty lightly on the surface. Once the garlic is golden, remove pan from the heat and carefully add the vinegar. It will make some splatter, but this is the best way to stop the garlic from cooking and make the hot vinaigrette. Finish by seasoning with salt and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
- Fry the peppers. Add the oil to a large saute pan and set over medium heat. Get the oil hot enough where the oil just begins to smoke. Carefully add the peppers to the pan and fry on each side until dark brown, a little over 1 minute on each side. Season with salt and remove onto a paper-towel-lined plate. To serve, smear some of the huancaína down the center of four salad plates. Top each with a row of 8 peppers. Dress with a couple of spoonfuls of the garlic vinaigrette. Garnish with shaved parmesan and basil leaves. Finish with lime juice and some sea salt.