This here tutorial for roasting peppers is the very reason why I write this blog. The notion of writing up such a tutorial did not occur to me until a couple of days ago after being asked many times in the preceding week or by friends just how one goes about this procedure that I’ve been doing for eons.
And, sure, I could have suggested they google it or, more likely because I’m not that kind of jerk, googled it myself and found them some decent instructions to follow, but then I realized that I have opinions about this stuff. Opinions that come from years of trial and error and following instructions that just never quite worked for me because the peppers have come out mushy instead of tender or under-cooked or just not roasty enough.
So here we are.
These instructions work for both hot and sweet peppers (if you don’t want hot sweet peppers, you will want to follow The Offspring’s advice and keep ’em separated) and for peppers of all different shapes and sizes. It’s a pretty easy task to accomplish and so worth going DIY over because the cost of already roasted red peppers is pretty steep and they’re often not that great. You also get a great hand conditioning out of it and you can’t buy that at Whole Foods.
All you need is:
- Enough olive oil to thoroughly cover each pepper
- A couple of baking sheets
- A sealable container or plastic bag
- A bowl
- An oven with a broiler
It does take some time and attention, as do most things that are just worth it.
And then, all you do is:
- Preheat your oven to 475.
- Wash your peppers and wipe them dry. You want them really dry before applying the olive oil.
- Using your hands, thoroughly coat each pepper with olive oil and place them on the baking sheets in a single layer with a little space between each one. It’s important to not overcrowd them or they will steam more than roast and that’s not what we’re going for. I find 4-5 large peppers is about all I can fit on one regular sized baking sheet. You also don’t want more than one layer of baking sheets in the oven at a time because the broiler is going to need to kiss the skin of each pepper and any on lower racks in the oven are going to overcook and lose that nice roasted texture.
- Once the oven is preheated, set it to broil (the hottest broil it can do if you have options) and pop in the pepper-laden baking sheets.
- Keep an eye on the peppers, once the skins on one side have blackened and blistered (about 5 minutes) use the tongs to turn the peppers so that a new side is exposed to the broiler heat.
- Repeat this until all peppers are blackened and blistered all the way around. Some may finish quicker than others (you can see that the poblano I did finished quicker than the red one). Transfer those out to a bowl until they’re ready for the bagging stage.
- Once all of the peppers are done, let them sit until cool enough to not melt whatever vessel you’re moving them to next.
- Once cool enough, transfer them to the seal-able container or bag and let sit until cool enough to handle.
- Give the container/bag a shake/massage to loosen the skin, then transfer them to a cutting board to remove the skins, de-seed (see tip below) and cut them up (see other tip below) however your great big hearts desire. At this point, the skin peel off quite easily, and the guts are all tender, but not mushy.
- From here, you can preserve them in oil or in brine or, my favourite, toss ’em in a baggy and then into the freezer.
Tip: If you’re going to hold onto peppers for future use, I strongly suggest keeping them in pieces as large as possible cos you can always chop them more finely later, but you cannot un-chop them.
Tip: For hot peppers, I strongly suggest keeping the seeds for heat-tweaking purposes. More seeds = more heat.