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Roasting red peppers

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  • Alex Halsey Oct 11, 2005 09:39 AM
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I finally tried roasting a red pepper on top of one of my gas burners. Worked well. The skin got blackened all around, I steamed it in a closed paper bag for around 10 minutes, and wiped all the skin and char off with a dishtowel.

I was disappointed, though, that the pepper still had a little bit of crispness to it--I was hoping for more of that softness that I've gotten from store-bought roasted red peppers.

Any tips? Just leave it on the burner longer? Steam it longer? Use lower heat? Also, I used tongs to hold the pepper, and it sometimes got awkward. Can I use a long-handled fork for this? Or is it bad to puncture the pepper during this part of the process?

Thanks for any advice.

AH

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  1. I blacken them under the broiler in the oven, turning when each side is really burnt, and then put them in a paper bag until completely cooled, probably longer than 10 minutes. Some red peppers have tougher hulls (like the ones from Holland) while some are so thin they almost dissolve. I also always tear them up and put some oil, parsley and garlic in with them, then let them sit a few days before trying.

    1 Reply
    1. re: coll

      Yep, that's my method too. Works like a charm!

    2. Sounds like you need to char it longer. You don't have to hold the pepper over the gas grill....I rest it on the trivet---but still stand around-don't walk away!

      1. I do them under the broiler too. I split them in half, clean outt the seeds and flatten them onto a foil lined cookie sheet. Cook until black, toss in a paper bag and peel of skin when cool. Marinate in oil and garlic.
        This way works great -- there's no turning. No messy slimy seeds.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mgb

          Exactly the way I do it - I can roast a lot more peppers at a time on the foil-lined broiler pan, and can walk away without having to stand there. I also use ziplock bags, leaving one corner open to allow for a bit of steam to escape. Leave them in for about 15 minutes, remove them, let them cool to the touch for about 30 seconds, and easily peel off the charred skin.

          Then if I'm not using them all, I freeze them flat on waxed paper on a cookie sheet. When frozen, I drop them into a smaller ziplock, and peel off whatever I need when I need them.

          1. re: mgb

            fellow broiler, and I've never felt like they emerged too crisp. Plus, don't have to hold them up over heat!

            1. re: mgb

              Splitting the peppers in half, cleaning them, flattening them and broiling them until blackened is the recommended method by America's Test Kitchen (Cook's Illustrated) for roasting peppers.

            2. I do them on the gas stove top as well - I just set it on top and then turn as necessary. When doing smaller peppers, like jalapenos, I put it on a fondue fork. I like to put mine in zip lock bags - you may get more steam than in a paper bag - and less crispiness.

              8 Replies
              1. re: MMRuth

                zip lock bags! what a great idea! thnx

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Plastic--I dunno....plastic and heat usually isn't advisable. Anyone have any scientific info about this?

                  I find a tea towel works just fine if the pepper is roasted as evenly as possible. Just don't get impatient. Leave in the towel for 10,15 minutes. Peppers evenly charred should peel with ease,

                  1. re: toodie jane

                    There are different grades of plastic - including food-safe ones.

                    Link: http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ar...

                    1. re: Linda W.

                      Thanks for the link - I use Ziploc bags that, now that I think about it, said they were microwave safe, so I didn't worry about it.

                      1. re: Linda W.

                        thanks for the link. Intersting debate--I'll stay on the safe side and not use plastic. It stinks anyway! ooph! the strong chemical whiff that comes out new 'zipper' bag. ugh.

                        1. re: toodie jane

                          I guess it depends on the brand you buy. I've never had a chemical smell whenever I've steamed peppers.

                      2. re: toodie jane

                        I've never had a problem using the bags - they just steam up ..

                      3. re: MMRuth

                        As an alternative to putting them into direct contact with plastic, you can put them in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap or foil. That's how I usually do it.

                        I use the burner method when I specifically don't want fully cooked peppers. This is usually for Mexican salsas where I want the complexity of both roasted pepper and fresh pepper flavor. I usually don't peel them in this case either, as I like the flavor of the charred skin in the salsa. No need to hold them up with tongs, just lay them right down on the burner rests.

                        Broiler will give you fully cooked flesh. I don't like baking them in an oven. I find that approach takes too long and the flesh ends up breaking down, sticking to the skin when peeled. A lot gets wasted. This can happen too if they are broiled too long, especially if the peppers have thin-walled flesh (like serranos or out-of-season bells). The closer to the flame, the better.

                        -Nick

                      4. I grill them on my gas grill, les mess that way and then put them in a Tupperware type container and seal. I leave them to steam for at least an hour.

                        1. Hi Alex
                          I'm going to take a little differant tack on this one. I wonder since the product purchased at the store has been "canned", wouldn't you think that the canning process (wich usually involves heat) would further cook the peppers and result in a softer texture??
                          Just a thought.
                          Bob

                          1. I'm in the broiler camp -- I love marinated roasted red peppers so I buy lots of peppers when they're on sale and roast them on a foil-lined cookie sheet (did this just a couple of days ago, in fact), so I always have some sitting in marinade in the fridge. All you have to do to make them softer is cook them longer -- you can play with the distance from the flame until you get find the spot where the skin doesn't get charred until the pepper is cooked. I think one problem with doing them over a burner is that you have to hold the pepper very close, and it chars before cooking.

                            I also don't like to put hot things in plastic bags, so I put them in a clean paper bag and then set that into a grocery-store sized plastic bag (otherwise the paper gets saturated and tears or leaks). Let them steam until they're completely cool.

                            1. Hi,

                              You can also cut them in half, clean out the seeds, place cut side down on a greased (so they don't stick) cookie sheet and bake in a very hot oven (like 450 or 500 deg. F.) until the skins are blackened. That way you could roast many peppers at once. I put them in a plastic bag to sweat, and have never had a problem with it.

                              1. Just in case you only have elecrtic or no barbie.. use a propane torch, line your oiled peppers on a sheet pan and torch them!

                                1. I roast them in my Kettle bbq. That way I can do lots at one time. I like them a bit underdone, but the longer you leave them, the softer they'll get. Then into paper bag - inside a plastic bag or just set in an empty sink in case bag bottom gives way.

                                  I also do poblano chiles on the bbq for chiles relleno. Just finished off the last batch tonight for dinner - 2 days of c.r. gorging.

                                  I especially like the bbq for chiles because I'm very sensitive to the capsacin oil that releases when they're heated....I start to cough and sneeze and become a pain to anybody around me. Outside on the barbie, the damn stuff flies away into the ether.

                                  1. Good ideas here for using the oven/broiler--i don't have a gas burner. My question is this? Why do you have to peel it? Does the char taste that bad?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mamma_spice

                                      Its not great, but a little won't hurt you. I usually do mine in the broiler, or if i'm already outside I do them on the grill. Its adviseable to get peel as much of the outside as you can, but a little of it left on the pepper won't hurt you.

                                    2. Just char them longer. When I shoot for black skin all around I sometimes wish my peppes had some crispness left.