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How To Make Roasted Peppers

For all my Italian friends and food blogger buddies, this will seem like a very elementary post. But I’ve had requests from readers to do more of these “How to” posts and I thought I’d start with roast peppers – easy to do and oh-so-much better than that jarred stuff packed in vinegary brine.  Roasted peppers – good, homemade roasted peppers – add pizzazz to a lot of meals and make a nice bruschetta appetizer all by themselves with the addition of a little olive oil and garlic.  While at the Trenton Farmer’s Market yesterday, I bought a bushel of these meaty red peppers for $12. They’ll get even less expensive as September approaches. But they were still cheap enough to lure me since I needed a fresh batch. I split the bushel with a friend but still had about 15 peppers to myself. I used an outdoor gas grill, but if you live somewhere without an outdoor grill, you can use your indoor broiler. They’ll require careful watching in either case. Turn the grill to high and let it preheat. Then just plop the peppers on the grill and close the lid. (Or put them on a cookie sheet in the broiler.) They’ll start to puff up and blacken. That’s what you want to happen. August 2010 099 Turn them on all sides until they’re blackened completely. There’s a fine line however, into blackening the skins and burning the peppers. If you let the blackened skin stay on the grill too long, the meaty flesh will stick to the skin and scorch too. You’ll get a feel for it after you’ve done it once. August 2010 101 Remove the whole peppers to a brown paper bag. (Well, it could be a white bag too.) Roll the top flap down to seal in the heat. This will help steam the blackened skins and separate the skins from the flesh. Just be patient until the peppers are cool enough to handle. Make sure you put a plate under the bag. Why? August 2010 102 Because a lot of the water and oils from the peppers will leach out. If you tried to grab the bag, the sack would give way and the roast peppers would come falling out. August 2010 103  Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, you’ll be able to peel off the blackened skins. August 2010 104 Open the pepper, take out the core and scrape out the seeds with a fork and knife. A flat knife, rather than serrated, works best. August 2010 105 Once the pepper is scraped clean, slice it into pieces. August 2010 106 Here are the skins and seeds taken from the 15 peppers. August 2010 108 And here’s the reward for your hard work. I like to put these away in the freezer for the future. Use small plastic bags and place a small amount in each bag. August 2010 107 Place the bags on a cookie sheet and put the cookie sheet in the freezer. Then after they’ve frozen, you can remove the cookie sheet and stack them on top of each other. Otherwise they’ll stick to each other and/or the freezer shelf. August 2010 112 After they’ve defrosted, you can use them in recipes or just the way they are. If they’ve been in the freezer a long time, they may have ice crystals on them. In that case, defrost them and pat them dry with a paper towel, then add a little olive oil and minced garlic for a half hour or so to gain even more flavor. They taste great with grilled pork chops. August 2010 113 They’re pretty darn special on a pork sandwich with melted provolone and broccoli rape too. image

This Post Has 23 Comments
  1. I always roast my peppers under the broil on foil lined baking sheets, then wrap them in the foil to steam.
    I used to do the bag trick, but find the foil is easy too!
    I love having them on hand for salads and sandwiches all week long!

  2. Fabulous tips Linda. I like to roast them directly on my stove, normally I roast them only when I need it at the time. But, I like your idea very much. Roast a bunch, then freeze. Thank you.

  3. This was a fabulous tutorial, Linda! I also roast green and yellow peppers the same way.

    Also, when peppers are on sale I buy a lot, cut up peppers in strips, steam them, and then freeze them in baggies for use in future stir fries and omelets and soups.

  4. I adore red bell pepper. Sometimes I buy a jar of these puppies for times I don't have fresh ones on hand– and the time to do this. Your way is best. I just had a roasted bell pepper soup at a restaurant, and was thinking I should make my own. Great tutorial, Linda, as I use my broiler. Using my gas grill… duh! Great idea.

  5. It's no lie that sometimes simplest dishes are the most delicious. Those peppers look great. My lunch today was a piece of Italian bread toasted, a slice of provolone, roasted pepper and an anchovy. Yum.

  6. I do this every August/September and I still read with interest and it still made me smile. Just love looking at the blackened peppers. Just finished freezing tons of grated zucchini – hoping I have caught up with the zucchini before vacation. Can't wait for red peppers.

  7. If you are using an outdoor grill, putting some soaked hickory chips on the coals and covering the grill during roasting adds a lot.

    A great use: simmer some chopped garlic in olive oil a frying pan, add just cooked pasta, stir, add the peppers in strips, plenty of good anchovies in olive oil and parsley. Yumm.

  8. Freezing is such a great idea. You'll be glad to have them in the dead of winter when the only red peppers in the market will be tasteless ones. Not ones like these that have summer sweetness all over them.

  9. I could smell those peppers roasting, Linda. Lovely how-to! I usually just put the peppers into a deep bowl and cover it with a plate to steam them; works the same way as the bag and nothing to toss into the garbage when you're done.

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