Friday, June 1, 2012

Roasted Red Peppers

I cannot remember where I saw a tutorial on how to roast red peppers.  Obviously, it was a cooking show, but I cannot remember if it was the Food Network or PBS . . . I've been doing it for over ten years.  I've learned a few tricks along the way.
Roasted Red Peppers (well, you can pretty much use the same technique to roast ANY pepper) are great on sandwiched, in pasta sauce, blended in with pesto . . . the list goes on and on!
The summer before I got married we had a HUGE garden! Nom!  I was cooking down tomatoes and roasting peppers all summer . . . saving the best ones for our wedding feast! Chicken scallopini and lasagna with homemade sauce, including roasted red peppers.

This is an awesome way to use sad, soft, wilting peppers.  They can be stored in a jar, covered with olive oil, in the fridge and/or frozen.  This week, I found some huge red peppers on sale at Chuppa's for $0.99 a lb.  They were a little soft, but perfect for roasting!
Wash them, Cut in half and remove pith by pinching it away from the flesh. Rinse the inside of the peppers with cool water.
There were a couple of really firm chunks that I diced up for hubby's salad and as a snack for me!  I <3 sweet red peppers!
You can easily roast peppers on the grill, in the oven under the broiler or [as I chose to do this week] in the toaster over under the broiler.
Roasting evenly can be tricky. I have found the best way is to cut them into chunks so the flattest surface is level with the broiler element/flame.

You want the skins to get blackened, this allows the steam to separate the skin from the flesh.
 Getting there . . . . I found that if I stopped staring at them, I wasn't nearly as bored.

Perfect!  Now, carefully remove them from the oven and plop them in a ziploc bag to sweat.
If you do it like I did, it will take several rounds, just keep adding peppers, zipping the bag shut in between.  Sweating them allows them to cool and the skin loosens.
The skin should easily push away with a slip between your thumb and forefinger.
Perfecto!!!  Now, if you're gonna use them right away, slice them up and put them in your pan, food processor, etc.  I didn't have a use for them right away, so I put them in a Mason jar and topped it off with olive oil.  The oil gets a nice smoky flavor.  You can pour some out and dip bread in it . . . or whatever else tickles your fancy!  Just remember to top the jar off.
I peeled about half of them, but found the middle to still be really warm.  So I sealed the bag back up and spread the chunks out in the bag (gallon size for the 3+ lbs I roasted last night) and set it on the counter to finish cooling off.
I saw a recipe on Pinterest for Grilled Goat Cheese, spinach and avocado sandwiches . . . I'm gonna add a little roasted red pepper too!