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Aug 27, 2012 02:02 PM

Questions about roasting peppers...

I tried roasting peppers for the first time this weekend. I was somewhat disappointed I think, as I felt like I ended up with far less pepper than I have when I just cut them up and cook them. For the record, the main way I use peppers is when I make Italian sausages with peppers and onions. I slice up green peppers, sweet peppers, and usually throw in a jar of roasted red peppers. The peppers get cooked until they are all soft and the combine with the onions into one goopy, delicious mess. :-) We love them. But I have read so much about roasted peppers being so easy - I thought I'd try roasting my own.

I didn't roast them whole...I sliced the bell peppers into 4ths, and sweet peppers in half, and roasted them in the oven. And then I read that you should peel off the skins. Why is that? I mean, when I cook peppers, I never peel them. Why pull the skin off the roasted ones? By the time I pulled the skins off, especially on the sweet peppers, I barely had any pepper left.

So I'm wondering...what is the point? I do love roasted red peppers...I can just eat them on crackers by themselves...but shoot I'd rather buy them then go through all that mess...and wind up with so little pepper left. Is there a better way to do this?

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  1. I never heard of roasting them in 4ths and I roast peppers all the time, either directly over flame, or under the broiler. I also never thought there was "less" than when I prepare peppers and sausage (much as you described) which I also do with some frequency.

    I am curious why you cut them into fourths.
    The skin chars and blisters and is easily removed after broiling and or roasting over flame.
    You wouldn't want to consume very much of it or serve it.

    A roasted pepper is not a sauteed or fried pepper.

    10 Replies
    1. re: laliz

      I cut them into fourths because the "how to" that I was using, said to do it that way.

      Also it seems to make far more sense to me to cut out the membranes and seeds first, before cooking.

      I understand that a roasted pepper is not a sauteed pepper (I've never fried peppers either). But what, really, is the difference as far as taste? Both are cooked to a very soft state, and I couldn't tell one bit of difference.

      1. re: FitMom4Life

        " But what, really, is the difference as far as taste? Both are cooked to a very soft state, and I couldn't tell one bit of difference."

        I'm a bit confused. If you can't tell a difference in taste, why do you put them in with your sausage, or eat them on crackers? To me RRPs have a wonderfully different taste than raw or sauteed. Charring them and removing the skins, I think, brings out all of their sweetness. We grow heirloom sweet peppers, not the typical bell, and the sweet is amplified even more. But to get to that state you aren't just roasting but charring the skins as the others have pointed out. Once the skin is charred all over, but them in a paper bag or plastic-covered bowl to steam. Once cool the skins come right off. It's a bit messy, but you can do a bunch at once on a grill and once skinned and seeds removed they freeze nicely. And so much less expensive than good quality jarred RRPs. Try them on a sandwich with a little balsamic vinegar, toasted bun and local goat cheese. Or put them in the food processor w/ softened cream cheese for a quick pasta sauce.

        1. re: gourmanda

          @gourmanda: I have always used jarred roasted red peppers, because that was what my recipe called for, but the green ones I always buy whole and cut up. So I was reading somewhere about roasting them yourself, and I had occasion to buy some really pretty peppers last week, so I decided to try it - I roasted both the green peppers, and the red ones. The green ones are the ones that I always simply cut up and throw in raw...and no, I could not tell any difference at all in the taste.

          1. re: FitMom4Life

            I can't speak to green bell peppers as I don't care for them. But I think the confusion lies in the very name "Roasted red pepper". I think of RRP as a charred, skin removed pepper and not simply roasted. Perhaps if you just roasted them until soft they didn't have much flavor difference--they need to be taken beyond roasted to charred/skin off before revealing a taste difference.
            However you cook them, we all love what we love no matter what it's called. Keep enjoying your sausage and peppers--I'm sure it's delicious!!

        2. re: FitMom4Life

          the point about roasting peppers is that the skin (which tends to be bitter and not such a good texture cooked) is removed, and a nice smoky char, which enhances the sweetness is added. They need to be blackened quickly (like over a gas flame or BBQ grill) so that the flesh does not get soft/fully cooked. I have recently been doing the roasting over the flame of my gas stove, it works fine, since we do not heat up the grill much these days. Most of my grilled peppers, after the skin is rubbed off and the veins and seeds removed are then layered with sliced fresh garlic, a little salt, and olive oil. When we serve, we garnish with chopped parsley and anchovies (if we have them) or capers. One of the best fall vegetables! but for your use, and if you are not sensitive to the bitterness and skin issues, Id forget about the roasting.

          1. re: FitMom4Life

            IMHO all is the last place I'd go for a recipe. I road them whole in a 500 degree oven or in the broiler. When the skin is black or looking like it will be easily removable I wrap each pepper in a paper towel and put them in a bowl together so they steam. I leave them that way for several hours then I remove the towel, de-stem and remove seeds and skin. I cut them up and put them in a bowl and toss with olive oil and sliced garlic. Toss, put in a container to store in fridge.

            1. re: wincountrygirl

              How long do they last? An opened jar of Mancini's gathers a web-like mold fairly quickly.

              1. re: wincountrygirl

                I use allrecipes often. I have for years.

          2. For the application you're indicating, there is no need to roast the peppers. Simply cook them together with the onions, perhaps putting them in a bit later, maybe when the onions have softened. (The onions take longer to caramelize than the peppers take to soften totally.)

            I've never tried to roast peppers cut into quarters. The norm is to blacken the skins by grilling or broiling them whole, then containing them in a bag or tupperware or other sealed environment, so the skins can be steamed loose. Then it's easy to pull the skin away.

            Why bother? Because the texture of skinless roasted peppers is wonderful on things like bruschetta. No one would want to eat the blackened skins, anyway. And if you cook the peppers simply so that the skins detach, as happens in long wet simmered sauces, they are rather hard, curled up things without flavor.

            If you're losing much pepper in the skinning, I bet you're not blackening them. You should not be taking away anything of the "meat" of the pepper.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Bada Bing

              Okay...we don't eat brushetta, so I suppose I may just skip the roasting. The only way I have ever cooked my raw peppers is in a pan...with I guess I don't need to go there. They are deelish just the way I've always done it. :-) Thanks though...I was really wondering since I just didn't see the point. You may be right about not blackening them enough...they were sticking to the pan and practically disappearing as it was so I might have taken them out too early.

              1. re: FitMom4Life

                You did not take them out too early. You just had a bad recipe. They should not be cut first as already mentioned by numerous posters. And direct flame to char is the best way.
                Roasting peppers gives them a very different flavor than sauteing. They are a little smokey.
                Peeling peppers is done because many find the tough flavorless skins undesirable, many people use a good serrated peeler to peel peppers before using them in any recipe.

                1. re: chefj

                  You mean some people peel the raw peppers? Seriously? I cannot imagine why one would do that. When you cook them up with onions and garlic in a bit of liquid...well gosh - they are so soft and tender. I have never ever heard of anyone peeling peppers before cooking them!

                  1. re: FitMom4Life

                    Yes they do. Jacques P├ępin for example.
                    They are not always "cooked up with onions and garlic" and in more refined uses the skin adds an undesirable texture.

                    1. re: chefj

                      Pretty much have ruled out the roasting. I made more sausage and peppers last night, and it's just soooo roasting needed. :-)

                      1. re: FitMom4Life

                        Italian sausage and peppers doesn't require roasting the peppers before hand. It is a different application - a different technique to saute them with something else and the results are a bit different.

                        It is odd that that you lost any meat from the peppers. I can only guess that, as someone else suggested, you didn't really get them blackened and then allowed them to steam inside a paper bag or wrapped in a dish towel. I also would guess that cutting them before roasting made them more difficult to work with.

            2. Why peel off the skins? Well, when you roast peppers over a flame the idea is to get the skins all blackened and bubbly......... not very appetizing, to me anyway.

              1. As others have stated, you want to look for charred, blackened skin when properly roasting a bell pepper. Place in an airtight container for 10-20 minutes to steam and soften the skin further.

                My grandmother would run water over the peppers to help remove the skin, but I prefer to rub the skin off with a thin kitchen towel or sturdy paper towel. Makes for a messy towel, but you don't lose a bunch of nice flavor down the drain.

                1. Including roasted peppers in Italian sausage with peppers and onions is not the best use of roasted peppers. By throwing roasted peppers into the pan of sausage, onions and fried peppers, you are in fact wasting or losing the quality that makes roasted peppers delicious. So don't bother doing that again, stick with raw peppers and onions.

                  Other posters have pointed out that properly roasted peppers are roasted whole, not in strips or quarters which gives less that optimal results. I place the whole peppers, pierced near the stem with the very tip of a paring knife or a skewer, on foil lined half sheet pans, about 6 inches away from the broiler, and roast them under the broiler until the skins are charred and blistered. They need to be watched and turned periodically to expose the uncharred flesh to the flame/heat.

                  Once evenly charred they should be steamed to allow the skins to loosen. Put the peppers in a paper or plastic bag, or in a non-plastic bowl and cover tightly with foil, plastic wrap, or a plate or cookie sheet. My preference is to steam them in a metal bowl covered with a plate. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the skins by peeling and rubbing off with your fingers. You can do this under running water as mentioned in another reply, but why flush all the delicious flavor down the drain? Just do it on the cutting board. If you find the skin difficult to remove, next time roast the peppers a bit more; in the meantime don't worry if a bit of charred skin remains. Remove the seeds after rubbing off the skin. If I'm saving the peppers for another use, or making a large enough amount for keeping in the fridge for a few days I try to capture the juices from the peppers as there is a lot of flavor in those juices which enhance any marinade.

                  If I'm roasting for later use I put them in a container with the accumulated juices from peeling, add a bit of sliced garlic if I have garlic lovers around, a pinch of crushed hot pepper and olive oil. I don't know how long these marinated peppers will keep in the fridge, but at least a week is good, they never last longer than that at my home. I've added raisins and also served them with toasted pine nuts.

                  So what can you do with roasted peppers besides throwing them into sausage, peppers and onions or using on top of bruschetta? They are terrific in salads, in omelets, in sandwiches (try a sandwich of roasted peppers, fresh basil leaves, cheese of your choice but a nice soft mozz is great here, olive oil, and prosciutto or grilled eggplant or zucchini), or just by themselves as part of an antipasto or as a starter, maybe served with some olives, some cheeses, some salamis, etc. There is a lot, and a lot more than what I've mentioned here, that you can do with delicious roasted peppers.