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Charred Shishito Peppers with Anchovy Cream

Renée Robinson

How Good are These Blistered Peppers When Paired with a Warm Anchovy Cream Dipping Sauce? Very Very Good.

By now, many of us have enjoyed charred shishito peppers that are served with a little drizzled olive oil and salt. I love them and could easily eat them weekly. There’s something about holding onto the stems of those mild peppers and popping them into my mouth that satisfies me on multiple levels. I’m a sucker for finger foods. Anything I can pick up with my hand just tastes better to me. 

Many times we eat these right along with our meal, instead of enjoying them as an appetizer.  This time I’d planned on serving lamb chops with a crusty flat bread. So, I got to thinking that this meal could use another strong flavor to go along with the lamb. That’s when I hit on anchovies and cream.

What I ended up with is kind of like a bagna cauda, that ubiquitous and delicious Italian dipping sauce. But mine is different. While bagna cauda typically has tons of garlic and olive oil, I only used 2 medium cloves and zero oil. I wanted the anchovies to be the prominent flavor, not the garlic, and found no need for any oil. I also added black pepper and chipotle chili flakes * for a touch of heat and smokiness. 

I didn’t want the sauce to be thick because the flavor was going to be intense and I only wanted it to lightly cling to the peppers. I wanted to be sure I could still taste the peppers and not be overwhelmed by the sauce. It ended up being extremely simple to make. Take 1 cup of heavy cream, add the anchovies from a 2 ounce tin, 2 grated cloves of garlic, black pepper, and chipotle chili flakes .* Heat all of this up in a small saucepan until tiny bubbles appear around the edges, put on a lid, remove it from the heat, let it cool, and steep for 30 minutes. 

It’s not even necessary to chop the anchovies. I just put the whole anchovies into the pan. After they’ve steeped in the cream,  whisk everything together and the anchovies will break down and practically melt into the sauce. Then you just put the pan back on the heat to warm it up, and serve it.

While you wait for the anchovy cream to steep, it’s time to cook the peppers. There are a couple ways you can approach this task. One way is to put the peppers in a hot skillet, let them briefly char on one side, flip them and quickly cook the other side. You can add oil to the peppers before they’re cooked or afterwards. Well, I think there are drawbacks to this method. First of all, it will require multiple batches because 1 pound of peppers will never fit in a skillet. Plus, if you add oil before you scorch them, you’ll have a greasy mess on your stove and you’ll also have to deal with smoke. 

I much prefer to line a sheet pan with foil, add the thoroughly dried peppers to the pan – no oil necessary – place them on the highest rack in your oven with your broiler on high and let them cook until they’re nicely browned. Shishito peppers are so thin skinned this never takes more than 2 minutes. I then flip them and broil the other side for only 1 minute and they’re done. 

Now, how can that be any easier? I then plop them all in a bowl, drizzle the peppers with a little good olive oil and flaky salt. No mess at all. Throw away the foil and you’re done with any cleanup. One thing I should mention is that you’re always told that although shishito peppers are mild, one in ten will be hot. And that is more or less correct. There is no way to tell which ones will be hot. This time around, I happened to be the only one in my home to get the hot ones. And there were only 2 or 3 hot ones in the whole pound. Are they super hot? No, they’re not, but they do pack some heat and I enjoy them. So, just be aware. 

When we sat down for dinner, I couldn’t wait to hear what my family was going to say about the peppers and sauce. I already knew I loved them. Well, to say they were a hit is an understatement. The sweetness of the peppers, combined with the salty cream was truly a match made in heaven. Some of us were even dipping bites of the lamb chops in the sauce. Me? I was using some of the bread to soak up the juices on my plate left behind from the chops and the sauce. 

Even though I served these with our meal, I think they would be great cocktail food, too. A platter of these, along with toasted baguette slices would go down very easily with a good drink. 

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Charred Shishito Peppers with Anchovy Cream

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Char the shishito peppers under the broiler and serve them with a warm dipping sauce made from heavy cream, anchovies, garlic, chipotle chili flakes, and black pepper. Could hardly be easier, but could not be more delicious.

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  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 2 ounce tin anchovy filets

  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili flakes *

  • 2 medium garlic cloves, grated on a microplane

  • Several grinds of black pepper

  • 1 pound shishito peppers, washed and fully dried

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • Flaky salt


  • In a medium saucepan, stir together the heavy cream, anchovies, chipotle chili flakes, grated garlic, and black pepper. Just lift the anchovies from the tin with a fork and add them to the cream. There is no need to chop them or drain them. Set the pan over medium heat and cook until a few small bubbles appear. Place a lid on the pan, remove from the heat, and let steep for 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, line a half sheet pan with foil and add all the peppers to the pan, being sure they are in a single layer. Place a rack in the highest position in your oven, turn the broiler to high and roast the peppers for 2 minutes, or until they are blistered and charred. Flip the peppers and place back under the broiler for about 1 minute. Removed from the oven, drizzle the peppers with olive oil and a couple pinches of flaky salt. Spoon the peppers onto a large platter.
  • Vigorously whisk together the anchovy cream. The anchovies should break down and practically melt into the cream. Put the pan back on medium heat and stir until it is just warm.
  • Pour the anchovy cream into a small bowl, serve with the peppers and Enjoy!

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