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How to Roast Peppers

Slideshow SLIDESHOW: How to Roast Peppers

I'll admit it. I buy those pricey jars of roasted peppers, especially in the winter. But have you ever noticed how they're so smushy, they fall apart at the slightest touch? And how they're so slippery, they seem to want to slither away from you?

Not the case with peppers you roast at home: tender but with structural integrity, moist but not slimy, and the taste is fresh, bright, and just slightly smoky all at once. A perfect summer food. And my favorite method for roasting peppers is a little like making roasted marshmallows, another summertime favorite.

All you need to do is char the surface of the pepper over the flame of a gas stove (or the heat of a campfire or outdoor grill) just like a kid who loves blackened marshmallows (or maybe you still are that kid). Then, following an optional steam in a covered bowl (more on that in the slideshow), scrape the skin off, core and seed the pepper, and enjoy.

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How to Eat Them

  • I like to make a roasted red pepper dipping sauce that goes great with toasted bread, meatballs, or grilled fish. All you need: 2 large roasted red peppers, 1 head of roasted garlic cloves, a 1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes, 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of salt, a few turns of freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, and about 1/4 cup olive oil pureed together until smooth.
  • Roasted red and yellow peppers are also delicious in a sandwich, especially with prosciutto, goat cheese, and arugula on a ciabatta.
  • They also make a great summer vegetable salad when tossed with corn, mint, basil, red onion, lime juice and olive oil.

Beyond Bell Peppers

  • Jalapeño peppers are mellowed a bit with roasting and add an earthy kick to guacamole.
  • Roasted poblano peppers are the classic shell for chile rellenos. I also love them on pizza.

This open flame method works particularly well with small batches. A good alternative, especially if you have a lot of peppers, is to char them under a broiler, rotating them every few minutes to ensure that the skin is evenly blistered and blackened. Small peppers, like jalepeños, can even be done in a toaster oven.

More on roasting peppers in the slideshow »

About the author: Kumiko writes the blog Recipe Interrupted. She believes that having a few cooking techniques under your belt can help make home cooking creative and easy, and is excited to share these basics here on her regular column Technique of the Week. A graduate of Brown University, the Institute of Culinary Education, and a mother of two hungry girls, Kumiko is always trying to keep her Brooklyn kitchen smelling of something good.

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