Sunday, April 8, 2012

How to Roast Peppers

Roasting peppers is an incredibly quick and easy process that can come in handy when you don't have a jar of roasted peppers handy or when you're looking for something to do with some peppers you have laying around in your fridge. Roasting peppers enables you to remove the skin of the pepper and it softens the flesh of the pepper, all while creating a deep, warm flavor. Here's a quick step-by-step on how to roast peppers:

1. Move a rack in your oven to the highest part of the oven, closest to the broiler, then turn the broiler on.

2. Wash peppers (any sort of pepper is fine; the peppers in my pictures are bell peppers), cut off the tops/stem end, and remove the "pulp/membrane" and seeds from the inside.

3. Cut the peppers in half and lay them out, cut side down, on an ungreased baking sheet, then gently press down on the halves to lightly flatten them.

4. Place the baking sheet in the oven under the broiler and cook for 5-10 minutes until the skin has blistered and turned black/brown (don't overcook though). Rotate as needed to ensure even roasting.

5. Remove the peppers from the oven and immediately wrap them in foil, then set them aside for at least 15 minutes, or up to an hour—this helps soften the peppers.

6. Unwrap the peppers and gently peel off the skins. The skins should easily slide off and should be discarded once removed.

Peeled pepper is on the left and the skin is on the right

7. Use the roasted peppers for sauces, soups, or as part of a meal. They can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge.

I used this technique this afternoon to roast a half of a green and orange pepper in order to make a quick sauce for pasta and it worked out so well. While the peppers were resting in the foil, I had time to unload the dishwasher and gather the ingredients for the roasted pepper sauce, and even though I only let them rest for about 15 minutes, they were perfectly softened and they blended well into the sauce I made. Try this technique at home and use your roasted peppers for sauces, soups, as an appetizer (sliced and served on crostini or blended into a dip perhaps?), or slice them up and toss them into a pasta dish or add them to pizza. Roasting peppers is so easy and the peppers can be used in so many ways!

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