Move over, Brussels sprouts. Stand aside, kale. It's time for another vegetable to be tapped as trendiest snack: shishito peppers. And we're all for it, because unlike those other two veggies, these slender green peppers are proving themselves to be highly versatile, so that every bowl around town doesn't taste the same. See also: The Top Ten Dishes in Denver for 2014
At Will Call, a hot new bar in RiNo, the mostly-mild peppers -- one in ten is said to be hot -- are fried and served with cilantro coulis. At Linger, the peppers are flash-fried and paired with tempura-battered cheese curds for a play on inside-out jalapeno poppers, with orange-habanero jam on the side.
And at Work & Class, the grilled peppers are a component of the popular appetizer called peppers five ways, which also includes fresno poppers, bacon-wrapped jalapenos, pickled peppers and pepper jam. "I don't think [this appetizer] will ever go away," says co-owner Delores Tronco. "It's become so much of an iconic dish for the restaurant."
After finding shishitos in eateries of all stripes around town, you might forget that the pepper is a staple of Japanese cooking. But I found a more traditional version, blistered and bathed in ginger sauce, at Tokio, the restaurant launched this summer by Miki Hashimoto, previously of Japon.
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Find out how his version -- not to mention the restaurant itself -- stacks up when my review of Tokio is posted here tomorrow.