How to Roast Bell Peppers
I love the clean, crunchy taste of a fresh, raw bell pepper. But even more, I love the sweet flavor and supple texture when I roast them. Roasting a pepper removes just about all the bitterness, and the pepper's sweetness really starts to come through. The peppers flesh also softens, and while it still has a bit of firmness, the consistency becomes more like that of a tomato.
Now roasting peppers can look a bit scary and a little bit intimidating. The best way to do it, has the pepper directly over the fire (yes there is a lot of smoke), and the skin turns completely black as it gets fully charred. At that point, they almost look like charcoal briquettes that are completely inedible. But the reality is you need to get them this charred, so you can easily peel away the skin and get the flesh roasted. When you use the right techniques the process is simple, and the results, delicious.
How to Roast Bell Peppers
- Allow the peppers to come up to room temp (if they are in your fridge before starting)
- I think the best place to roast a pepper is over the gas flame of your range. However, a grill also works well (it needs to be very very hot) and I've even done it on an electric burner.
- It's important to remember that there is going to be a LOT of smoke. You need to get your range hood air vent going full bore; and if you're vent isn't very powerful you may need to move to an outdoor option; or open up all your windows
- Turn your gas burner on high heat, and then using heat proof tongs, place the peppers on the grate, directly in the flame
- You'll hear some popping initially as the skin starts to blister and turn black
- After about 2 minutes rotate the pepper 180 degrees and expose the other side to the fire
- After another 2 minutes, you'll see the areas that are exposed to the flame have fully blackened (if not, then cook the peppers for longer).
- Use the tongs, to continue to rotate the pepper, exposing any skin not fully charred to the flame - make sure to get the top & bottom of the pepper too
- You also want to make sure to be gentle with the tongs - the pepper is increasingly delicate, and if you puncture the skin some juice will leak out and dirty your stove
- Once the pepper is charcoal black all over, turn off the flame, and move the pepper(s) into a bag
- I prefer a paper bag, but I also use zip lock bags and they work just fine
- Seal the bag (or crumple the top of the paper bag) and allow the pepper to cool
- While it's cooling, it's also steaming in it's own heat, and this both makes the charred skin really easy to remove and continues to soften the flesh
- When the pepper(s) is cool to the touch (about 10 - 15 minutes) remove from the bag
- Using your hands, and maybe come paper towel, gently rub the burnt skins, and large pieces should easily separate from the flesh of the pepper.
- Continue to rub, removing and discarding the skin.
- As you're doing so, you can also open up the pepper and discard the seeds inside, as well as the stem
- I prefer to NOT rinse the peppers under water, but some people like that method, and when I've got a particularly messy pepper I"ll do it. It will help remove all the charred bits.
- You don't need to remove every speck of black, but you should get the vast majority off
- Once you' have the skin, seeds and stem discarded, your peppers are ready to eat.
I love to use mine on sandwich, with pastas, and even in a roasted pepper bruschetta.