Monday, September 7, 2009

how to roast fresh peppers

Level of difficulty: May set off your smoke detector, and probably shouldn't be attempted with pets in the room. Just saying.

So I bought these peppers at Trail's End (a local farmer's market located just east of London, Ontario, on Highway 2) yesterday. I think they were labeled yellow banana peppers, although that might have been similar peppers at another stall. I wanted red bell peppers, but I didn't see any until after I'd bought these ones. Doh. Anyhow, these are the ones I bought, and they cost me $2 for all of them.

I asked the vendor if they were hot peppers (which I didn't want). She said no. Probably not. I admired her conviction. And prayed that they really weren't hot peppers.

Turn on the broiler in your oven.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. If you're worried about Alzheimer's or something, I'm afraid I can't help you. All I know is, these babies make a mess, and I'm not too jacked about scrubbing a baking sheet covered in carmelized pepper blood.

Put your peppers in a single layer on the baking sheet. You can roast any kind of peppers like this, BTW - it doesn't have to be just long, skinny peppers.

Gratuitous close-up of a pepper.

Put the baking sheet in the oven and broil under the broiling element (that red, glowing thing on the ceiling of the oven) until your smoke detector goes off. Seriously. That's what I do, anyhow.

If you're going to be all "I need a real time to broil them for," then I'm guessing maybe these peppers took about 10 minutes. Actually, that sounds kind of high. Whatever. Just broil them until you smell them getting all brown and everything, and keep checking the oven really often, to make sure they aren't bursting into flames.

Yes. They'll do that. Awesome, eh?

Turn over the peppers so the unburnt side is facing up. You might want to use tongs for that part. Just saying.

Here's a photo of the peppers broiling in my oven. The smoke alarm actually went off for the second time WHILE I WAS TAKING THIS PICTURE. I am not kidding. Hence the focus challenge.

(At that same moment, I was also trying to figure out how close I could get to the BURNING HOT OVEN without melting my camera. And there were cats milling about, who were unfamiliar with the event of an open oven door. Startled does not begin to describe my reaction when the alarm went off.)

Cover the finished peppers with another sheet of aluminum foil. Some people recommend using plastic wrap, but are you kidding me? The polyphenols in the plastic will give you cancer, or something!


(The covering is to sweat the peppers so that the skins come off easier, BTW.)

The sweated peppers. They should look all deflated.

Peel off the charred skin. You might want to wait until the peppers have cooled down a bit, first. They're kind of hot if you try to do it right after you take them out of the oven. The skins should just come right off.

Then slice into each pepper lengthwise, and spread it open to scrape out the seeds. The top part - where the pepper was attached to the stem - should just pull away from the roasted flesh. I'm not too picky about the odd seed here and there in my food, but too many of them aren't all that good.

Then chop the peppers however you need to for the recipe you're making. These babies were going in a pretend ratatouille.

Yum. Finished roasted peppers. I ate about half of them while I was scraping out the seeds. True. The broiling carmelizes the sugars in the peppers, and makes them really sweet and delicious.

Cost per serving: Are you serious? Am I really going to try to figure that out for every recipe? Man... Okay, let's see, if all of these peppers cost $2, and one person would eat... well... potentially all of them... then $2/serving.

The End.

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