Posted in Recipes, Technique

Roasting Red Peppers…

Roasting Red Peppers 01

Roasted Red Peppers that have been marinated in olive oil make a lovely Italian Antipasto style Appetizer but they are great to have on hand for a variety of other uses. They can be added to a whole variety of more complex hot and cold dishes, are fantastic when pureed for sauces and condiments, make great garnishes when sliced or dices attractively, and, on a more pedestrian level, go great on sandwiches and wraps. You can buy some fairly decent pre-made varieties in jars, or occasionally in bulk from the deli section of the supermarket, but they are easy enough to prepare at home and the results are far better…

Roasting Red Peppers 02

Many people roast peppers in the oven, in which case the shape is not especially important, but I prefer mine charred over an open flame. For that technique, peppers with a ‘squarish’ shape, like the ones pictured above, are much simpler to handle as they can be easily cooked on all sides.

Roasting Red Peppers 03

I always brush my peppers with a thin film of oil and put them on the grill over a high flame. They need to be grilled on all fours ‘sides’ and then the bottom and top ends as well. The length of the time on each side will depend on the grill temperature and the degree of ‘doneness’ you desire, but I find that somewhere between 3 to 5 minutes per side is about right. Basically, the peppers are cooked just right for me when you see the skin just begin to crinkle and loosen itself away from the flesh beneath. There will be some dark spots at this point, but only here and there…

Some people like to almost completely blacken the exterior of the pepper. This gives it a particular flavor that many people enjoy but I prefer to cook only until the flesh is just starting to soften. The result is a little harder to peel but I like the sprightly color and flavor that you get when the pepper is not too well done.

Roasting Red Peppers 04

When the peppers are cooked to your liking, remove them from the heat and pop them into a heavy-duty plastic bag. The idea here is to let them sweat to further loosen the skins as they cool. You can leave them just until the temperature drops enough to make the peppers easy to handle or, if you prefer, pop them into the fridge and leave them over night.

Roasting Red Peppers 05

If you like, you can peel the peppers while they are whole. As you can see, when the peppers are only lightly grilled they retain their basic shape quite well. Those roasted more thoroughly, on the other hand, tend to become a bit ‘floppy’ and saggy (although the skin can sometimes just slip right off in one or two pieces).

Roasting Red Peppers 06

Cutting the peppers into sections before peeling is sometimes a bit easier. Often, you can just grab an edge of the skin and peel it away but, if it is a bit stubborn, scraping gently with the edge of a knife blade will generally do the trick.

Roasting Red Peppers 07

Roasted red pepper flesh freezes quite well. Simply keep the individual pieces separate from each other, enclose in cling wrap and then pop into the freezer.

Roasting Red Peppers 08

I like keeping the peppers in the refrigerator in oil. You can use plain vegetable or olive oil but here I have used some of my home-made Garlic Oil. If you are going to be keeping any under oil for more than 5 or 6 days then it is advisable to add some salt as well. About 1/3 of teaspoon sprinkled over each whole pepper is about right.

The pieces in the small round container are the irregular bits from the ends of the peppers and are probably destined for sauces or other preparations where the flesh would be diced or chopped finely. The ‘side’ pieces are intentionally kept as large as possible so on has maximum flexibility when it comes to cutting them up later. I have plenty to work with here (and will get a few different uses from this batch), but some are going to be eaten as is. Marinated peppers may often include herbs or other ingredients but just a day or two in the garlic oil will produce a lovely result that will go great with just a little fresh bread and maybe some cheese…

13 thoughts on “Roasting Red Peppers…

  1. I roast peppers every time they become affordable. I love them. They are so sweet and smokey and delicious. My favourite ways to use them would be stirred through pasta or added to tinned tomatoes for a delicious soup.

  2. I love roasted bell peppers and don’t like store-bought roasted peppers because they usually include vinegar, which ruins the flavor for me. Sometimes they are easy to peel and sometimes difficult, but I am not sure what causes that as I always treat them the same (25 minutes at 250C/480F in the oven).

  3. I grow peppers in my garden each year. I love roasted peppers and do them on the grill as well but I’m one of the people that likes to get them dark all over. 🙂

Exercise your freedom of speech!