Roasting Poblano peppers: what went wrong?
- mschow Jan 5, 2009 06:30 AM
Yesterday I roasted a bag of poblano peppers (to make chile rellenos with). I roasted them in my gas oven, under the broiler. However, a strange thing happened with 4 of the peppers. After cooling them down in a bag, I could not remove the skin from them. In parts, the skin was blackened, in other parts, blistered. All attempts to remove the skin resulted in completely tearing the peppers up, so I discarded the ones that were unable to be peeled.
The skin from the rest of the peppers were removed without any problem. This has happened to me a few times in the past. Did I do something wrong, or was there something wrong with the peppers? So strange...
Yep. My three guesses:
1. Particularly tight-skinned chiles--based on experiences with our home grown chiles, I think this might be related to under-ripeness, but I don't really know.
2. Incomplete blistering--as Caralien suggests, sometimes it helps to be more directly engaged with the chiles to ensure that the flame properly kisses all parts of the skin.
3. In adequate "self-steaming". I try to roast as many chiles as I can at one time to create a large mass of hot chiles that will help each other steam off their skins. For this reason, I tend to roast chiles over a grill (not always a viable option). And FWIW, for a "steaming" vessel, I use a bowl with a plate on top rather than a bag.
I agree about not discarding the chiles if they get torn or messed up. If you're making rellenos, you can usually piece together strips from damaged chiles. After they're dipped in the whipped egg white batter, they keep together when they're fried. If they've really fallen apart, you can make a sort of casserole which is also quite good.
BTW, I am really allergic to the capsicum or whatever it is in chiles, and blister the skins outside on the barbecue. If I don't do this I'm a wreck the rest of the day, coughing and wheezing.
Poblanos are fickle. When I do rellenos I start with 50% more peppers than what I want to stuff. I puree the stubborn ones for poblano-sweet corn-sweet-shrimp soup.
I roast them on a gas grill and tend to them assiduously, turning them often and moving them in and out of the hot spots.
Some have irregular surfaces that makes roasting and stuffing difficult. A very high heat is necessary for a quick blister without sacrificing the firm texture necessry to stuff them. I agree with the poster who suggested that the under-ripe ones are the most difficult to work with.
EDIT:You can get a fast "blister" in hot oil and really preserve the fresh "snap" in texture.
I also find that I have more trouble roasting poblanos in the winter than in the summer, and have always assumed it was a freshness issue, but don't have any real evidence that is the explanation. One trick I use in the winter is to lightly oil the peppers before broiling. This seems to make it easier to peel them, in my experience.
I agree that rubbing a light coat of oil before putting the poblanos under a broiler seems to help create even blistering. The only time I've had trouble with the skin not coming off is when I have actually cooked the peppers too long and the skin and underlying flesh both burned.
This summer I was given a giant bag of fresh pobIanos, so I experimented with freezing roasted peppers (after seeding and peeling). I'm happy to report that they freeze beautifully when individually wrapped in saran wrap and then placed in a freezer safe ziplock bag. The thawed peppers are terrific chopped up in winter dishes and it saves a lot of time to use pre-roasted peppers.