I had been wanting to roast my own peppers for years, but never had. I'd always loved roasted peppers, be they red, green, yellow or none of the above. I had read about the different possible methods, about the tips and tricks, about the things that could go wrong and how to avoid them, about how freshly roasted peppers were astonishingly better than jarred -- I knew all that.
But for some obscure reason, I held the belief, deeply ingrained inside of me, that it just would not work, not for me. Sure, it worked for thousands of others, but somehow I could not imagine how my peppers, fresh and firm and plasticky to the touch, could really cook and soften in my oven, or that their skin could actually get charred and blistered. It was just beyond me. (In passing, I seem to hold the same kind of weird disbelief about leavening agents, which is why I never bake bread. But I'll get over it soon, I promise.)
And then the other day, we had two organic green peppers in the fridge, and I decided it was high time I test my own limits, and see whether I was indeed the X-File of pepper-roasting.
Well, good news, I'm not.
And what an incredible discovery! It is the easiest thing in the whole wide world! It works beautifully! And it isn't even a pain to remove the membranes and seeds! It's actually fun! And the result is so delightfully good and pretty -- so tasty and tender you would swear on your firstborn's left big toe that they are soaked in the most flavorful oil -- that really, I need to stop myself from thinking about all those wasted years, spent not home-roasting any peppers.
- fresh peppers, firm and beautiful
(yes, that's it : my shortest ingredient list so far!)
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Wash and dry the peppers. Line an oven rack with foil. Put the peppers, whole, on the rack, and put the rack into the oven.
Leave the peppers in for 30 to 45 minutes, turning them every ten to fifteen minutes so they cook evenly. They will collapse and soften, and their skin will blacken and blister.
Take the rack out of the oven, and close the foil onto the peppers, so they are completely enclosed. If you are roasting many, you may want to divide them into two foil packages. Let rest for ten minutes. This step allows the steam from the peppers to loosen the skin, making it easier to remove.
Open the foil package. Pull out the stems and peel the skins off the peppers. Slice them open, and use a fork to remove the white inside membranes and the seeds. Cut into strips, and let cool to room temperature before serving. No need for any seasoning in my opinion, but adjust to your own taste with salt, pepper, chili powder...
The amount of peppers to roast really depends on their size and what you'll do with them. One pepper yields about 6 to 8 strips. To add into pasta or a salad, I would suggest roasting one pepper per two or three guests. For an antipasti, I would roast one pepper per guest. Mix and match the colors for a pretty antipasti platter effect!
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