Culinary inspiration struck me in the middle of the Whole Foods produce department yesterday when I spotted a party pack of shishito peppers and the vision of the Blistered Shishito Pepper & Papaya Roll began to form in my mind. I decided to pair blistered shishito peppers with papaya, prosciutto and honey to see if it would work as sushi.
My Kitchen is My Playground
Another weekend means another chance to frolic in the kitchen playground. Saturday is meal prep day this week and I was ready to get creative with sushi-less sushi for next week’s lunchbox. A quick raid of the fridge yielded plenty of tools to work with. I’m only going to need about four blistered shishito peppers for a roll, so don’t be surprised if another recipe using the rest up comes from this experiment.
By now, you’ve probably come across blistered shishito peppers on the appetizer menu. “Blistered” just means they are grilled until their skins start to bubble and char. Pairing blistered shishito peppers with something creamy like burrata cheese is common, or they get served with something sweet like cantaloupe melon or a drizzle of honey. The combination of blistered shishito peppers and papaya seemed like an easy choice for a sushi roll.
Get Your Blister On
Blistering shishito peppers for the blistered shishito pepper roll was easier than I thought. I tossed a couple in olive oil, got my cast iron grill pan nice and hot and they were done in about 2 minutes. I had to wait for the rice to finish before I could get rolling.
Getting Your Roll On
Perfect Sushi Roll Rice
Step one to making a Blistered Shishito Pepper and Papaya Roll is to make the sushi rice. I follow Wil Yeung’s method. Rice the sushi rice well, put it over medium heat until it starts to bubble, cover, reduce heat to low and don’t touch for 15 minutes. Turn heat off and don’t lift lid or touch for another 10 minutes. Finish with a splash of rice vinegar and a sprinkle of sugar and let it cool to warm.
If you are wondering what the little black stuff is in this pciture it’s my current obsession – furikake. It a mix of sesame seeds, dry seaweed flakes and bonito flakes. Adds a little something interesting to pretty much anything plus it looks cool on the outside of a roll. I didn’t use it for today’s roll only because I forgot.
Blistered Shishito Pepper & Papaya Roll – Assembly
Once your rice is ready and your sprouts are done, it’s time to assemble your Blistered Shishito Pepper & Papaya Roll. After a little trial and error, I’ve landed on parchment paper as my preferred sushi assembly tool. You’ll need a piece of parchment paper about the size of a standard cooking tray. Lay that out on your counter and place a sushi seaweed sheet on top, rough side up.
The hardest part is setting the rice. Scoop about 3/4 of a cup of cooked rice onto your seaweed sheet (on the rougher side). Use wet hands and a fork to spread and flatten.
The goal here is to spread and flatten the rice out so that it covers all but about 2 inches of the sheet. Yes, it’s easier if you just keep heaping rice on vs. using a little patience to spread what you started with. But this will result in a Blistered Shishito Pepper & Papaya Roll with a very thick layer of rice which just adds calories per roll and makes it harder to eat. The key to perfect sushi is a nice, bite-sized roll.
Carefully pick up your sushi sheet by the naked edge and flip it over so the rice is facing down (unless you prefer your rice on the inside of your roll).
Time to start adding the ingredients. The key to a good roll is not to over do it. I used 2 blistered shishito peppers, half a strip of prosciutto and a medium slice of papaya per roll. Spread everything out evenly along the naked edge of the sushi paper and gave it a small drizzle of wild honey. Time to wrap this Blistered Shishito Pepper & Papaya Roll up!
Blistered Shishito Pepper & Papaya Roll – Let’s Wrap It Up
Using your hands, flip the naked part of the sushi sheet over your ingredients and gently try to tuck the edge in underneath them. Holding that in place with one hand while you use the other to pick up the parchment paper and flip it over the roll.
Using both hands and the parchment paper as your guide, starting rolling up your blistered shishito pepper roll. Go slowly, using your fingers to pinch the roll together as you go to make it tight.
The technique I use is to roll a little and then use my fingers to tuck the parchment under the roll, pulling back to make it snug. Then release the parchment from the tuck, pull it forward a little and continue rolling. It’s way easier to do than to describe 🙂
Once you’ve reached the end of the seaweed wrapper, unroll your parchment and admire your work. Carefully pick up your blistered shishito pepper roll and transfer it to a cutting board. Make a few more rolls until you run out of rice.
Blistered Shishito Pepper & Papaya Roll – The Right Slice
Time to slice! Transfer your perfectly rolled sushi to a cutting board and lay a piece of your parchment just over the top. Use your fingers to hold one side steady and use a serrated knife to carefully saw through the parchment and the roll until you feel that you’ve cut through the seaweed all the way.
Carefully pull off the parchment and look at your perfect creation!!
I dipped my first piece into just a dab of soy sauce to try it. It was really good though I think I’ll blister the shishito peppers even more next time and add more prosciutto and more honey. I made one roll with pineapple (see the picture with the pepper party pack) which was also good. I think adding burrata would be fantastic so I’ll add that update once I try it.
- parchment paper
- 3/4 cup sushi rice, rinsed several times
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds or furikake (optional)
Blistered Shishito Peppers and Roll Assembly
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 6 shishito peppers
- 2 slices prosciutto
- 3 slices fresh papaya
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3 sheets nori
- soy sauce for dipping
- wasabi paste, optional
Prepare the Sushi Rice
- Rinse sushi rice in a strainer and place rinsed sushi rice in a small saucepan. Add water and place over med heat. As soon as bubbles start to form on the edges, stir to release anything sticking and cover with a lid. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes and then turn off heat (don't open the lid). Allow to steam for another 10 minutes. Remove lid, fluff with fork. Add rice vinegar, sugar, and sesame seeds or furikake and fluff again. Set aside and allow to rest until just warm.
Preparing the Roll
- While rice is cooking, prepare the blistered shishito peppers. Preheat a cast iron grill pan over medium high heat. Toss 6 shishito peppers in 1 tbsp of olive oil. Once pan is hot, add the peppers and allow to sear for a minute. Turn and sear for another 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
- Once rice is done, place one nori sheet (bumpy side up) on a piece of parchment paper. Using a fork and wet fingers, press cooked sushi rice onto the mat firmly leaving 1-2 inches of nori uncovered. Carefully flip the nori over so that the rice is facing down.
- Arrange 2 shishito peppers, a half a slice of prosciutto and a slice of papaya on the edge of the nori that does not have rice under it. Drizzle with honey. You are going to roll that uncovered nori around the filling to get it started. Don't over do the filling.
- Pick up the edge of your rolling mat and start to flip the exposed piece of nori over the filling ingredients. You essentially want to tuck that piece around and under to get your roll sealed. Lift the parchment and flip it over the roll. Use it as a guide to begin rolling while also pulling it back towards you, and use your fingers to pinch the roll firmly as you go. You want to get things tight on that first turn and then continue rolling about a half turn at a time, pulling the mat free as you continue to roll forward and continuing to pinch along the length of the roll as you go. Unroll the parchment and you should have a beautiful sushi roll!
- The hardest part IMO is cutting. Move the roll to a cutting board and lay a piece of parchment over the top. Use your fingers to hold the parchment and roll firmly while sliced with a serrated knife, gently sawing back and forth as you go. Carefully remove the parchment. Stand back to admire what you've created, then go ahead and make your second roll. Serve immediately or keep wrapped in plastic and refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Serve 1 roll per person with soy sauce for dipping and wasabi paste on the side (optional).
Are You On A Roll Now?
Check out my On A Roll homemade sushi recipe collection for more ideas like these: