Roasting peppers brings out their natural sweetness and juicy flavors. A necessary ingredient in many authentic Mexican dishes, roasting them is actually fun and easy. You score DIY points too because doing it yourself is also a lot cheaper than choosing store bought brands swimming in chemical preservatives, not to mention one less empty jar going to a landfill. (And once you taste the difference, you'll never go back!) Have fun exploring these techniques for home-roasted peppers.
You can roast any kind of pepper, from the smallest (and hottest!) to the most common, big red bells. The rules are the same, just be mindful of those little guys as they can scorch pretty quickly!
This recipe uses a barbecue grill, but you can also do this on your gas burners (that's right, directly on the flame) or in your broiler. The same rules apply, make sure to watch and turn your peppers frequently.
- Lightly coat clean peppers with a high-heat oil (sunflower or sesame are good choices).
- On a medium-high temp grill, place the peppers on the grill rack and close the lid, checking them frequently, every minute or so.
- Use tongs to handle, flipping as each side blackens careful not to char inside the pepper. (The way to know this is the skin will still be intact, not flaking off in burnt chunks.)
- When done, transfer peppers to an air tight container (a large stock pot or even large glass jars, a plastic bag will work too, if you have nothing else). They'll sit there for 20 minutes to steam loose their skins.
- Transfer steamed peppers to a cutting board.
- Remove stems (they should easily pull out at this point).
- Cut the peppers lengthwise in half and remove the seeds.
- With the skin side up towards you, begin to peel it off, which should happen quite easily at this point. Do not rinse the skinned peppers (this erodes flavor!).
- Transfer to a bowl or a jar.
- Drizzle your peppers with enough olive oil to just cover them and secure lid. They will keep for several weeks.
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image: Scot Rumery