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ROASTED PEPPERS

I know people who actually hate bell peppers, and I like them despite this incomprehensible flaw. I have always liked bell peppers, even the green bell peppers which seem to elicit most of the hatred. My grandmother used them in her potato soup  and no one ever complained. That was back in the Dark Ages, children, when green bell peppers were all that was available. Well, you could sometimes get red bell peppers, but you had to take out a loan to buy them. Nowadays the sweet red bells are easily available (at least here in California) as well as yellow, orange, purple, brown, and good old green ones – and they are very frequently the same price as the green ones, sometimes even cheaper.

If you kind of sort of like bell peppers, you might like them better if you roasted them. They become sweeter and tender, and can easily be blended into other dishes such as soups, hummus, sauces (think red pepper Hollandaise), and so forth. Not just the sweet bells, but all kinds of capsicum are easily roasted. Unless I am making a very fast pico de gallo with fresh raw peppers, I always roast a variety of chili peppers when I make salsa.  They are all roasted exactly the same way – Jalapenos, Anaheims, pasillas, serranos, etc.  You can buy jars of all kinds of peppers already roasted, peeled, and marinated, but this is kind of fun to do and far cheaper than store-bought.

Here I am using the broiler unit in an electric stove, with the pepper just a few inches under the heat element. If you have a gas range, just put the pepper/chili directly on a low flame and turn it as needed until blackened in the way described. They can also be done on a barbecue (gas or charcoal) or over a wood fire.

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Turn the pepper as necessary so the whole thing blackens and blisters. Don’t freak if some spots are missed. It’ll be okay.

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When the whole pepper is more or less black, remove it and pop it in a bag, paper or plastic, and crimp the bag shut. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes while you go do something else.

You will find the the blackened skin comes off pretty easily under cool running water.

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When most of the skin has been removed (do not obsess about little tiny bits of blackened skin that won’t come off), cut the pepper open and scoop out the seeds. In hot chilis, the seeds and interior ribs are the source of the heat, so either wear gloves or wash your hands VERY well after doing seed surgery. Even after you wash your hands, avoid touching any sensitive body parts for several hours. Trust me on this.

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Then cut out the tough stem (if you haven’t already) and voila! You have a roasted pepper.

Nigella Lawson suggests slicing such peppers and immersing them in a piquant vinaigrette with anchovies. I have done this and it was a delicious little salad-y accompaniment to a hamburger, and the anchovies were not at all fishy. I also like these roasted peppers tossed into a green salad or mixed with sliced avocados and minced red onion. They are delicious spread out on a steak, combined with sauteed onions or mushrooms or alone.  Combined with decent diced tomatoes and fresh basil (I know it’s now autumn and such things are rare), they make a great garnish for broiled/sauteed fish such as salmon or cod. They’re sublime in an omelet with a spoonful of sour cream and some minced red onion. A puree of them with some chicken broth and perhaps canned coconut milk and cilantro (maybe a little Thai curry paste too) will make a fabulous soup.

Chili peppers of varying heat are done the same way, and I combine several types with tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, onion, cumin, and whatever else is lying around to make salsa. Beware that some of the hotter types, especially if done over a flame, can emit fumes that will make you cough like mad, but do not let that prevent you from trying this method. They are worth the suffering.

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3 responses »

  1. I love roasted red peppers… they are delicious!
    I like the taste of green peppers, but they ‘do not like me’ and cause much discomfort… so I enjoy the reds.

    My friend first introduced me to roasted red peppers and he showed me how easy they were to make… and so I make them often. Delicious!!!

    Reply
    • I have read that it is actually the skin of the green pepper that causes the discomfort, but I can’t say for sure. But the red ones are much, much more delicious anyway!

      Reply
  2. Pingback: BLACK BEAN & MANGO SALSA | Eggs In Hell

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