Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Technique Tuesday: Roasting Peppers

Roasted peppers have an amazing flavor ~ they are sweet and tender with a delicious grilled flavor that makes them hard to resist. Roasting peppers is incredibly easy and only requires a few ingredients and basic technique. They are incredibly versatile too; I like to dress them with a balsamic vinaigrette, add them to pasta or rice, top salads or sandwiches or add them to mayonnaise and garlic for a delicious aioli. You can roast peppers in the oven or on the grill, you just have to make sure to follow the simple steps below and your taste buds will be rewarded!

1. Leave your peppers whole
There's no need to mess with your peppers before roasting them. Simply place them directly on the grill or in the oven whole.

2. Be adventurous when choosing your peppers
You can roast any pepper for a delicious new flavor profile. Try sweet Italian peppers (pictured above), bell peppers or jalepeno, serrano or cubanelle peppers. Not only are roasted peppers delicious, but they are also beautiful, so don't shy away from making them the star of a dish. Try roasting different colored bell peppers and dressing them with my vinaigrette (search in sidebar) for a delicious and light salad.

3. Oil your peppers
Brush your peppers with either vegetable or olive oil before placing them on the grill. This will prevent sticking and give you a beautiful, even roast all the way around.

4. Set your heat
Set your oven or grill to medium-high heat (for the oven, I like it to be around 400 degrees). Use tongs to turn them every few minutes. It should only take about 10 minutes to roast a large pepper.

5. Don't be afraid of blackening!
You will know that your pepper is ready when it is blackened all around (see photo). You will be peeling the blackened skin off of the pepper in the last few steps. Underneath the blackened skin is tender, juicy pepper flesh, so don't be put off by the blackness!

5. Use paper bags
After you take your peppers out of the oven or off of the grill, place them in a paper bag and roll down the top to close it. The steam from the hot pepper will help pull the blackened skin right off the pepper's flesh. After about 5 minutes, take them out of the bag, and the skin should come off easily. No need to burn your fingers trying to remove the skin right away!

6. Remove the seeds and membranes
Split your roasted pepper down the center and gently scrape the seeds and membranes out using a butter knife or spoon. You will be left with the tender flesh of the pepper.

Roasted Red Pepper Aioli
basic aioli (search in the sidebar for "messing with mayo" to find this recipe)
1 roasted red pepper, peeled and seeded

Roast pepper according to steps above. Allow pepper to cool completely. Blend aioli and red pepper using an immersion blender or mini-Cuisinart. Spread on a baguette or sandwich or use as a dipping sauce for fries, etc.

No comments: