Monday, August 2, 2010

Fire Roasted Red Peppers

With the first ripe bell peppers ready to harvest from my garden, this weekend it was (lost past) time to deal with the last few packages of ones I froze last fall. I couldn't bear to just chuck them in the compost (note to self: this year, don't freeze quite so many peppers). So I stuck them all the grill. Fire roasted red peppers are incredibly tasty and can be used in a variety of ways. I'll follow up with another recipe for turning them into a sauce, but you can also use them as is on pizza, sandwiches, with pasta, etc. They have all the flavor you love in regular roasted red peppers, plus a little something extra from the grill. Thick-walled peppers work best for this; thinner ones get hard to peel.

You can, of course, do this with fresh peppers! But if you happen to be using frozen, you can also put those straight on the grill, no need to thaw first. They'll just take a little longer to grill.

2 lbs red bell peppers, stems and seeds removed

Cut the peppers into halves or quarters, so that the pieces are more or less flat. You want as much surface area right on the grill as possible.

Heat up the grill nice and hot. Lay the peppers out, skin side down, over the fire. Grill until the skin is well charred - you want it almost entirely black.

Fresh pepper halves lined up on the grill
Remove the charred peppers from the grill and let them cool. Once you can comfortably handle them, use a sharp paring knife to remove the skin. It should peel off easily; you can get it started by piercing a charred blister with the knife.

Charred peppers ready for peeling
Store the peppers in the fridge, where they will keep for at least a few days. If you would like to freeze them, either tray freeze them first or separate them with layers of waxed paper so you can remove individual pieces later.

Makes 1/2 lb roasted peppers.

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