These petite elongated peppers average about 3 inches in length, and at first glance, they don’t look all that impressive.
However, once the peppers are blistered in a hot pan and seasoned with salt, you will quickly realize why they have become so popular over the years.
Available locally through the summer and fall months, they transform from green to red on the plant as they fully mature, but are most commonly encountered in their green stage. These peppers deliver a nice underlying peppery taste and a smooth texture once cooked.
Many of our local chefs have been loading up on shishito peppers, which are originally from Japan, at our Saturday Santa Barbara and Wednesday Solvang farmers’ markets. The peppers are sold by farmers Fred Ormonde and Rudy Domingo.
This week I prepared blistered shishito peppers as the Fix of the Week on the next page. Price averages $8 per pound or $3 per basket.
Dragon tongue beans
If you tried to imagine what a dragon’s tongue might look like, something similar to these fresh beans might come to mind.
These large flat beans possess splashes of yellow and purple across their cream to light yellow pods. The color tends to dissipate the longer they are cooked.
Dragon tongue beans are quite crisp and snap in half with ease when fresh. Slightly sweet with a mild nutty flavor, they can be enjoyed in both raw and cooked preparations.
Add them to a salad, stir-fry or as a substitute in most recipes that call for standard green beans.
They are an excellent source of protein and fiber, and they provide vitamins A, C and K, potassium, selenium, iron, folate, manganese and calcium. Grown, harvested and sold by Two Peas in a Pod Farm, they can be found at the weekly Saturday Santa Barbara farmers markets. Price averages $6 per pound.
Have you ever tried a freshly dug raw peanut right out of the ground and brought to market? If not, I highly recommend you visit Her Family Farm and Moua Family Farm at the Saturday Santa Barbara and Sunday Camino Real (Goleta) farmers’ markets.
Their texture is reminiscent of raw coconut with a nice watery crisp texture, and you’ll enjoy the underlying peanut flavor.
Enjoyed both raw and cooked, they can be tossed in a salad, added to a stir-fry and even roasted inthe shell. A common technique is to boil peanuts in salted water and enjoy them as a peel-and-eat appetizer.
I personally enjoy them shelled, then simmered in a coconut-curry style preparation along with seasonal vegetables and thai basil. Price averages $6 per pound.