~more recently updated recipes~
In 2006, my first experience with roasting peppers was, to say the least, not good – so much so that it took me two years to come back. But once I did, with a new technique, the results were great – and now I roast peppers all the time, red ones, green ones and especially, my favorite roasted peppers, the smoky poblanos. Here's what I've learned, my tips about how to roast peppers:
HOW TO ROAST PEPPERS in the OVENIf you have a gas stove and want to roast just one or two peppers, consider this technique, How to Roast a Pepper on a Gas Stove. But even if you have a gas stove, roasting them in the oven if the better choice for roasting a lot of peppers all at once.
Don't roast whole peppers. Why? Because it's hard to separate the seeds from the flesh once the peppers are roasted. And because it takes forever since, at least in my oven, whole peppers either sit too close to the broiler (and burn) or too far away. And because whole peppers have to be turned.
Instead, cut whole peppers in half lengthwise. Circle out the stem and discard. Pull or slice out the inner membrane and the seeds and discard. Flatten onto a baking sheet, preferably one with a rim in case a lot of juices are let off. (For extra-easy clean-up, put a piece of foil beneath.)
When roasting multi-colored peppers at the same time, green peppers finish first, red second and yellow third. Try arranging the peppers with the green ones furthest from the fire, the red and yellow ones closer.
Is oil needed? No but a little bit does help the skins come off more easily. In 2008, I tested four ways to roast peppers.
- MY FAVORITE - a light mist of olive oil using an olive oil mister, just enough to wet the skins.
- WORKS BUT WASTEFUL - olive oil rubbed on with my fingers, used a lot more oil.
- COMMERCIAL OLIVE SPRAY - left that metallic odor that comes with commercial sprays.
- NO OIL - this blackened the skin just fine but the skin was a bit harder to get off.
Now put the pan under the broiler for about 10 minutes, parallel with the burner so that all the peppers are as close as possible. Start checking at five minutes, those in the photo were under the broiler for 8 minutes and could have used another minute or two. Remove from the oven.
You can let the skins get really, really black. The upside is that the flavor is i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e. The downside is that the yield is so small, as the peppers really really shrink. Somewhere in the middle is the happy medium.
If you used foil, fold it up and around the peppers to form a tight case. Otherwise, put the peppers into a container that seals or inside a paper bag. The peppers are still cooking so that later, the skins will separate easily. Let rest 5 - 10 minutes.
Peel off the skins with your fingers and discard. This is easier when the peppers are still warm. And besides, once they're cold, they're cold and clammy and slippery and yuck.
Some times people rinse the peppers under running water while peeling off the skins. This is a BAD idea! So much flavor is washed away, including some small black bits that can remain on the flesh, no problem.
This is an especially good way to roast a lot of peppers at one time, especially in early fall when peppers are so plentiful and inexpensive. I use two cookie sheets, swapping one for the other like when making cookies.
While it's easy to roast peppers at home, there are also great 'convenience' products from peppers. I use frozen roasted peppers from Trader Joe's in this Warm Pepper Salad and jars of roasted peppers in Pepper Sandwiches with Goat Cheese Pepper Spread. Unfortunately, the frozen peppers aren't available all the time and jars of roasted peppers are quite pricey!