Roasting Red Peppers
July 2, 2008
What do you do when you see red peppers on sale for $.99/lb. at the grocery store? You buy as many as you can stuff into your eco-friendly reusable grocery tote and hurry home to make a vat of roasted red peppers, naturally. It seems there are two approaches to roasting peppers: oven or open flame. Roasting in the oven is easier, cleaner and the only option for those with an electric range. I’ve done it in the past when I was pressed for time, and yes, it works, although it’s not my preferred method.
Roasting over an open flame (stove-top or grill) is time-consuming and dirty, but the results, in my opinion, are tastier. The flame magnifies the sweetness of the pepper that you just don’t taste in oven-roasted peppers. I’ve been been using this method ever since I read The World According to Garp (one of my all-time favorite books) back in grad school where the protagonist roasts his peppers atop his gas range. When I married my husband, I was happy to discover his Italian family made theirs the same way.
Marinated Roasted Red Peppers
6 red peppers (or more)
1 head of garlic, peeled and crushed
1-2 C. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Place rinsed peppers over open flame (on grill or gas cooktop). Completely char all sides including tops and bottoms, using tongs to turn the peppers. (You might want to temporarily disable your smoke detector or open the windows. Oh, and be prepared to find little black flecks all over your kitchen for the next three days).
You know they’re done when they are completely blackened.
Place charred red peppers in brown paper bag.
When completely cooled, rub off as much as the blackened skin as possible. I try not to rinse the pepper under water since it loses some of its flavor, although many simply rinse off the burnt parts. It does get very messy, so you will have to rinse your hands off frequently.
Cut off the tops and remove the seeds. Slice into 1 inch wide strips. Place in medium bowl with crushed garlic cloves and cover with good quality extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight (or longer). This keeps for at least a week (although I’ve never had peppers hang around that long).
Serve in sandwiches, salads, pasta, chicken recipes or my favorite, with crusty bread dipped in the sweet infused olive oil.