There’s no looking a gift horse in the mouth when summer produce is at its peak. If you hear someone complaining that they can’t bear the thought of looking at another zucchini or charring another shishito, it’s your duty to tell them to stop, take a beat, and think about the long winter of beets and parsnips that will be here soon enough. Then let them know that they don’t have to blister every shishito they bring home from the market. How about turning them into a dreamy batch of creamed shishitos instead?
These creamed shishitos are the perfect antidote to standard produce-procedure fatigue. Shishitos, shallots, and garlic cooked down with heavy cream to a saucy consistency, with the cream picking up just the right amount of subtle heat from the peppers. Finished with a handful of grated Parmesan and a pinch of nutmeg, this is a steak side dish for the summer…or a pizza topping or a taco filling or the building block of a great pasta sauce.
It’s also an example of the game of culinary telephone that most chefs and cooks play, riffing off recipes and ideas from colleagues and peers. I first had a version of this preparation on a Neapolitan-style pizza with potatoes, fior di latte, and smoky speck at the now-closed restaurant Tapestry in Boston. The other week I was making pizzas at home and reached out to Kevin Walsh, the former co-executive chef of Tapestry, to get the recipe for those shishitos.
He got back to me saying he couldn’t remember the exact quantities and didn’t have his old notebook handy, but he gave me the basic rundown. Along with this CliffsNotes recipe, he told me that this version was an adaptation of a dish from Chef Alex Stupak, who had cooked a rajas-inspired dish of shishitos with crema at an event they had worked together. A riff on a riff of a classic, and a really tasty one at that. I’ve made this recipe at least once a week since then, and probably won’t be charring a shishito until next summer.