How to Grill Peppers
Roasted red peppers are a delight often considered too difficult to prepare from scratch. However, once you learn the simple roasting process and taste the fantastic results, you may never buy ready-prepared again.
Peppers come in various styles, colors, and flavors. Most people prefer red peppers for roasting. These naturally sweet, mild flavored peppers take on a delicious smokey essence when roasted. Yellow and orange bell peppers produce similar results and roast faster than red. However, do not roast green or purple bell peppers as their flesh is bitter.
There are several methods for roasting peppers. These include roasting over an open flame, oven roasting, and oven broiling. Many prefer oven broiling because it is so simple.
Done correctly, oven broiling creates a nicely roasted pepper without bitter or mushy flesh. This process requires only moderate preparation time and less labor than grilling over an open flame. Furthermore, the exposure to the broiler’s direct heat allows the peppers to roast quickly while keeping the flesh relatively firm.
Oven roasted peppers are exposed to high heat for a short period of time. Once roasted the peppers are steamed 15 minutes. Steaming the peppers while they cool facilitates skin removal. After steaming, the skin is removed, and the flesh is exposed.
Roasted peppers need to be used immediately or drizzled with olive oil and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Oil-packed and refrigerated, roasted peppers will keep about one week.
Roasting Red Bell Peppers
Cooking times vary according to your broiler. Peppers at room temperature will roast faster than those straight out of the refrigerator. Furthermore, if you are roasting yellow or orange peppers, decrease your cooking time 3 to 4 minutes.
4 medium to large red bell peppers
Extra virgin olive oil (for storage)
salt (to season, if desired)
Adjust your oven rack so your pepper-filled sheet will be within 3 1/2 inches of the broiler element. Preheat your broiler unit.
Slice 1/4-inch from the top and bottom of each pepper. Gently remove the stem from the top slice. Pull the core out of the body. Make a slit down one side and lay the pepper flat. Using a sharp knife, remove all the ribs and seeds.
Place pepper strips, tops, and bottoms on a foil lined baking sheet – skin side up. Flatten the strips with the palm of your hand. Roast until the pepper skins turn spotty brown (about 5 minutes). Rotate the pan and roast until the pepper skins char and puff up like balloons but the flesh is still firm (about 3 to 5 minutes longer). Note: The more evenly charred the skins, the easier the peppers will peel.
Remove the pan from the oven. Using tongs, place the peppers into a glass oven-proof bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to steam 15 minutes. Peel and discard the peppers’ skins. Slice and serve with pasta, in sandwiches, with grilled vegetables, or with your favorite grilled or pan-seared meat.