Thursday, December 13, 2012

How To: Roast a Bell Pepper

Roasted bell peppers taste completely different, and dare I say, SO MUCH better, than their raw counterparts. You can buy them pre-roasted from a supermarket, but they cost much more than raw bell peppers from the produce section. I will let you in on a little secret. If you have 10 minutes, a gas stove, or an oven with a broiler, you can roast peppers in your kitchen at home. You can have freshly roasted peppers that are much more flavorful than the storebought version any time you want! So, why buy something when you can make it better yourself and save money? 

There are three methods to roasting your own pepper: the broiler, grill, and gas stove method. For all three methods you will need a whole pepper (bell, italian, jalapeño, serrano, etc) and a resealable plastic bag.

**Broiler Method: Preheat your broiler to high and move the oven rack to the top third of the oven. Cut the pepper in half and remove the vein and seeds. Place the peppers on a sheet pan with the skin side facing up and place pan in the oven. To achieve an even char, you will need to keep an eye on the pepper and rotate the pan until the skin is black on all sides. Remove the peppers from the oven and place in a resealable plastic bag. Seal the bag and set aside until cool to touch

**Gas Stove & Grill Method: Turn a gas element to high heat. Place the pepper on the element, directly above the flame. Using tongs, turn the pepper frequently to allow for even charring. When the skin is black on all sides, place the pepper in a resealable plastic bag and seal. Allow to cool. 

The purpose of placing the pepper in a bag is to allow for very easy peeling once cool. The condensation and heat that collects in the bag keeps the skin soft enought to rub off the pepper. Do not rinse your roasted pepper! This rinses away all the flavor. Once the pepper is cool, roughly rub the pepper skin until it peels away.

Look at that smoky tender vegetable! Once your pepper is peeled, chop, dice, mince, slice, and use in your favorite recipe.

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