Friday, May 14, 2010

Basic Techniques: Roasting Red Peppers

 Roasting peppers - it's easy, fast and versatile.  

 How to easily Roast a pepper:
  1. Rinse outside with water & dry.  Leave whole.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 180C (350F).
  3. Place peppers in a pan; drizzle with olive oil & coat well.
  4. Bake in oven 15 minutes, then rotate the peppers.  Bake another 15-20 minutes or so, rotating at least another 1 or 2 times.  Maybe bake another 5-10 minutes, if needed.  They're done when the skin looks separated from the flesh (as in the pictures).  
  5. Remove from oven & let sit on counter until cooled.
  6. Remove skins with a knife, or your fingers.  Remove core & seeds. 
  7. Reserve in olive oil.  Store in fridge.  Keeps several days.
Unpeeled on left;  peeled on right

Other methods will tell you to roast at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time (say 200C/400F for 10 - 20 minutes), typically turning the outer skin black & charred.  This works, too, but my preference is to use a lower temp & to cook for a (slightly) longer time.  The texture stays more intact this way, and the color stays vibrant.  Higher temperatures can blacken the pepper itself, in addition to the skin. (There aren't too many occasions when I'm looking for a blackened pepper, but if I were, I'd do it this way.)

They will also tell you to place the roasted peppers in a paper or plastic after removing from the oven & then to peel after they're cool enough to touch.  I don't use bags anymore.  I find it's simply not necessary & it only wastes a bag that ends up in the garbage.  Sitting on the counter is just fine (if they're roasted long enough in the oven).

I've seen professional kitchens roast their peppers directly over the gas flame.  This definitely gets the skin charred which often requires a rinse after wards to get all the black bits off.  Of course, you can end up with a grilled & smokey taste this way.  I find that it's not that easy to do at home where my burners aren't strong enough to handle the job easily.  I end up babysitting them over a hot flame...and well, it's just easier to toss them in the oven & let them be!

One observation:  I find that yellow peppers are harder to peel than red;  I tend to let the yellow peppers sit in the oven a bit longer than the red ones.

What I like do with roasted peppers:
  1. Use in salads, sliced julienne (into strips).  
  2. Make a red pepper sauce, such as romesco or coulis.
  3. Add to pasta - delicious.
  4. Add to an appetizer platter (with baby artichokes, olives, olive-oil marinated feta cubes, etc), served with a baguette & flavored olive oil on the side.
  5. Make a red-yellow pepper soup.
  6. Put in a sandwich.
  7. Frankly, I use these anywhere that raw red peppers are called for.  (Some people can't digest raw peppers, so this makes it edible for them.)
 Salade Nicoise


Claudia said...

Yes, always roast my peppers. Come August when they are abundant I am a "roasting-pepper-fool." They add color and depth to everything.

Girl Cook in Paris said...

Hi Claudia, So glad to hear that! I totally agree. diane

French Restaurants said...

Wow, the salade nicoise looks really awesome.

How long have you been doing French cooking for?

red pepper said...

I love ravioli. this dish looks so good. :)

Lynn said...

Re: Roasted red peppers. We do it this way...char them under the broiler or on the bbq. Put in a bowl and cover to steam the skins off. peel. Chop a stick of celery heart complete with leaves. ..finely chop a clove of garlic. Mix all together with a dash of balsamic vinegar. Let sit at room temp. for about 2 hrs. Serve on a baguette. Delicious! Toronto, Cda