In this preparation, Chef Honma of En Japanese Brasserie demonstrates the Japanese cooking notion of contrasting a main ingredient with a supporting ingredient to highlight the main food's flavor. Here shishito pepper has the starring role, while a bit of kombu tsukudani, kombu kelp slowly simmered in soy sauce, sake and mirin, plays the chorus. The sweet-savory tsukudani contrasts and highlights the pepper's zing. A nice play of flavors in such a simple dish. By the way, you can make kombu tsukudani at home home (check out Just Bento's recipe) or buy it already prepared. Here's what you need for the dish:
- Shishito pepper
- Kombu tsukudani
- High smoke point cooking oil
Puncture a hole in each shishito pepper so it doesn't explode when deep fried. Heat oil in a saucepan until it reaches 375-degrees or so (or until tiny air bubbles escape from a wooden chopstick stuck in the oil). When the oil is ready, add the shishito, pushing them down into the oil. As soon as you start to hear popping sounds -- in about 30 seconds -- transfer the shishito to a paper towel lined plate to cool. Once you can handle them, chop off the tips and cut the shishito pepper into 1/4 inch slices on an angle. To serve, pile the shishito with some tsukudani in a dish. Make sure the shishito is the primary flavor when adjusting proportions. You can keep this dish in the fridge and serve cold.