Roasted red peppers are everywhere in great cuisine. They are found in the traditional dishes of multiple cultures across the globe. Lately they can be spotted somewhere in a dish on most menus as the push to better health grows. Red peppers are wonderful in the raw, but roasting them gives another level of flavor as it seems to deepen the intensity of the pepper flavor but softens the bitter edge. Teya, my oldest, can’t handle them raw but loves them roasted.
Yet the more recipes I saw for roasting red peppers the more I began to wonder: why so complicated? Many of the instructions out there say to spread oil all over them first. There just seemed to be a lot of unnecessary steps thrown into the process. During my time in Europe, the way we roasted peppers was much simpler and easier.
Roast several at once so you can fill a jar to keep in the fridge for a week. You’ll find when you have them on hand, you’ll be throwing them on salads, in paninis, blended into sauces, on cold cut sandwiches, dice in your rice for dinner or rolled up with some cheese inside a chicken breast for a great surprise. The possibilities are literally endless, and if you have a fresh jar in your fridge those possibilities will actually happen.
The steps are simple, and don’t you forget it:
1- Cut the peppers in half and lay down on a pan. Fill the whole pan, you’ll be happy you have them all. Skip the part where many say to oil them here, it’s completely unnecessary and seems like a waste of good oil that’ll just be tossed later when the skins are removed. Plus it slickens the skin making the removal more difficult, and there’s the risk of using the wrong oil that can’t handle the high heat (like olive oil for example). So no oil here.
2- Turn your broiler on to high and put the peppers in the oven. Let them roast until the skins blacken on top. Keep an eye on them, depending on your oven this takes 5-10 minutes.
3- When blackened, remove, throw together in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let them cool off in there as they steam, about 15-20 minutes. This steaming makes the skins slip right off, if you skip this part you’ll be prying away at all the tiny pieces of stuck skin.
4- While you wait, since the weather is a little cooler today, enjoy a cup of Vanilla Soy Chai with Green Tea with some cinnamon on top. Then ever so stealthily check on the kids to make sure they aren’t killing each other in their room… but don’t let them see you. If they see you they’ll suddenly realize they have needs and wants and your moment of peace is no more.
5- After the steaming, you can clean the peppers. Remove the seeds, stems, and skins. Truly, if you start at the base of the pepper, most skins will slip right off in one long peel. This is peeling is remarkably satisfying to me.
Done is done! Use them right away with your lunch or dinner. Save the rest in a jar with some olive oil in the fridge for the rest of your weeks treats. If you don’t think you can use them all in a weeks time, go ahead and freeze them. They keep well and last longer.
Check back tomorrow as I’ll be putting up two posts that include these roasted red peppers in two very different ways!