Roasted Red Peppers - How To

The topic of what to do with a surplus of red bell peppers came up recently with some friends.  I said "roast them up, then you can do lots with them."  But hey!  How many people have actually roasted, steamed, peeled and sliced red peppers for themselves?


I've bought roasted red peppers in a jar oodles of times, and used them with great glee.  I've watched cooks on the telly go through the process.  It was easy to relay the information to someone else.

Today was the day to try it myself.  My store had the peppers on sale yesterday, so I bought a few and gave it a spin.  And I learned some things!  So here's what TO do and what NOT to do.

Buy nice, big, heavy peppers. 

Wash them off.

Put them on a baking sheet and place into a 450 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, and you have to watch them.  The skins should be fairly charred in several places, and you should hear some popping and sizzling and really be able to smell them roasting.  Black spots are ok!

I should have let mine got a bit longer, to get more charred spots.  Lesson learned.

Then, take them out and put them into a paper bag - any old paper bag will do that you can fold down the top and seal in the steam.  Get them in the bag RIGHT away and close it up.  Watch out, they're hot!

After 10 minutes, take ONE out of the bag and put IT on a plate.  Leave the others in the bag, which I did not.  As they cool, the skins get less easy to peel off.  Lesson learned.  The skins should be all wrinkly and funny looking.  Because I didn't roast mine long enough, they didn't wrinkle as much as I'd seen on tv.

Good wrinkle.

Now, you can do one of two methods - either just rub and peel the skins off with your fingers, or do the job under cool, running water.  I tried both, and preferred the non-water way.

When the skins are mostly off, cut or pull out the core, and BE CAREFUL because there's lots of hot liquid inside where the seeds are.  Dump it out, and brush out the seeds and any dangly rib parts. 

Now, just slice them into wedges sections, put them in a container, and refrigerate for a few days, or use right away in a recipe. 

RECIPE?  Sure.  These can be pureed and made into a spicy roasted red pepper soup, with or without tomato.  They can be sliced and added with some cheese to bread for a tasty snack.  They can be sliced and dressed with a vinaigrette and served as a salad.  Toss them into a pot of hot pasta with some herbs and maybe chicken or sausage.  Pizza topping?  Yum.  Dice and add to a pasta salad, or seafood salad (shrimp, mayo, these peppers, scallions, thyme, etc.).

Lots of possibilities . . .