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23 August 2011

How-To: Roast & Steam Peppers

Love the taste of roasted peppers, but hate having to shell out for the jarred ones at the grocery?  If so, try this tasty tip!

To Roast Peppers:
  • Preheat your oven's broiler OR turn your heat source (i.e. an open flame on a gas stove, outdoor grill, or even a campfire) to HIGH.
  • If desired rub the peppers with a couple of tablespoons of oil. Do Not use extra virgin olive oil due to its low smoke point.
  • If using the broiler, place the peppers on a baking sheet; then broil until skins begin to appear charred in spots.  Using tongs, turn the peppers, and repeat the broiling process until the skins begin to blister/char evenly on all sides.  
  • If using an open flame, grab a pair of tongs and your first pepper, then pass the pepper through (or as close to) the open flame as possible.  Turn the pepper and continue passing through the flame until it is evenly charred.  (Times will vary widely depending on the type of pepper and your heat source, so don't wander off!)
To Steam & Clean Peppers:
  • Immediately after charring the skins, place the peppers in a zippered storage bag along with a damp (not wet) paper towel or two.  Seal the bag tightly and allow to steam for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the peppers are cool enough to handle.
  • Remove the peppers from the storage bag and peel away and discard the charred skin.  Most of the skin should slip off fairly easily, but if it doesn't, don't fret, it will add additional flavor!
  • Once the skins are removed, pull the stems out of each pepper, then invert the pepper over a bowl and use your hand to squeeze out the bulk of the seeds and pulp.
  • Slit the peppers open with a knife and spread them out ribbed side up.  Using the backside of your knife, scrape out any remaining seeds, ribs, and/or membrane.
  • Use the peppers in your favorite recipe or store them for future use.* 

*I'd recommend freezing the peppers in a single layer on parchment paper, then placing in a zippered storage bag.  They'll keep for several months this way.  Or if you're into canning, use either regular olive oil or balsamic vinegar to cover them.  Keep in mind - the olive oil won't leave behind much added taste and can be (mostly) rinsed off, the balsamic vinegar will leave its mark though!

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