By Alaina Sullivan
Aside from color, a roasted bell pepper bears little resemblance to its raw counterpart. After a stint in the oven, the skin becomes charred and wrinkly, sagging around the flesh it once held so tautly. The molten inside easily sheds its blistered skin – emerging incomparably more succulent and sweet than the raw version. The transformation is magical and delicious, and can easily be achieved in the oven, under the broiler, or over an open flame. Recipe from How to Cook Everything: The Basics.
Incomparably fresh and sweet—perhaps the best thing you can do with bell peppers.
Time: 20 to 90 minutes, depending on the method
Makes: 6 to 8 servings
8 large bell peppers (any color)
2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1. Heat the oven to 450°F or position the rack under the broiler about 4 inches from the heat source and turn it to high. Put the peppers on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Roast or broil, turning the peppers as each side browns, until they have darkened and collapsed, 15 to 20 minutes under the broiler, 50 to 60 minutes if roasting.
2. Gather up the corners of the foil from the pan and tightly wrap the peppers (use a kitchen towel to help if the foil is too hot). Cool until you can handle them, about 15 minutes, then remove the skin, seeds, and stems. (You can do this under running water to make it a little easier.) Don’t worry if the peppers fall apart.
3. Serve the peppers within an hour or so, sprinkled with a pinch of salt and drizzled with 2 tablespoons olive oil, or more if you like. (Or drizzle them with 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil and store them in the refrigerator for up to a few days; bring them back to room temperature before serving.)
If you want them really charred and smoky-tasting, you’ve got to use the broiler—and check frequently.
Any pepper can be roasted, but red, yellow, and orange are sweeter than green. If you like the sharp flavor of green peppers, you’ll love them roasted. You can also roast poblano chiles, though the skins are more difficult to remove.
To roast peppers on a grill: Prepare a grill; the heat should be medium-high and the rack about 4 inches from the fire. When the fire is hot, put the peppers directly over the heat. Grill, turning as each side blackens, until they collapse, 15 to 20 minutes. Then continue with Step 2, using a piece of foil to wrap them after they come off the fire.
6 Ways to Eat Roasted Peppers:
1. With a fork
2. On a green salad
3. On a sandwich or bruschetta
4. Tossed with pasta
5. Puréed in a blender or food processor with 1 cup cream cheese or sour cream to make a spread
6. Puréed in a blender with another 1/4 cup (or more) olive oil and salt to make a condiment that’s good for anything from burgers to steamed fish
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