Roasted peppers like you’ve never had them before!
An antipasto classic! I love serving this with the first course. Maybe with some crispy fried eggplant that’s still warm and handmade mozzarella (also still warm).
When we think of roasted peppers, maybe the thought of some nicely packed peppers from a jar comes to mind. And don’t get me wrong. I love going to the Italian specialty markets and looking at (and purchasing) all the beautiful items packed in jars like artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, pickled veggies, and yes of course…roasted peppers. Usually all red. However, there is no comparison to serving up some homemade, perfectly roasted, and seasoned peppers to your guests. And, their reaction to them will be confirmation of this statement, I promise.
So let’s begin. . .
At the market select red, yellow, and orange bell peppers. Make sure they are fresh, not too ripe, and in perfect condition. I tend to go a little more with the red peppers and use the orange and yellow to add some complexity to the flavor. They have more of a mellow taste and perhaps even a little sweeter. Besides, all the different colors on the plate look great. Not to mention, very healthy. These peppers are packed with vitamin C. More than an orange and without the sugar.
The ideal way to roast these peppers is on top of some wood chunk charcoal. When I have the time this is what I do. But, they can also be roasted under the broiler, directly on the stovetop burner, or on top of cast iron. If I decide not to use the coals, the broiler is my next choice. If I got something going in the oven, cast iron works too. Cast iron on the stovetop is probably the best for the control factor. You can really get into some precision roasting with cast iron. Don’t get me started on cast iron. I love it so much!!
So..place the peppers on a baking sheet about 4 inches under the broiler on high heat. As they start to char give them a ¼ turn with a pair of metal tongs. Do this until they are charred all the way around. Once charred, remove from the oven and place in a glass mixing bowl (NOT A PAPER BAG). Cover with a cloth or clean dish towel set aside and let cool. Do not place peppers in the refrigerator to cool down.
While the peppers are cooling, gather some simple ingredients for your marinade. As mentioned on the ingredient breakdown below, slice the garlic clove razor thin. Like, you can see through it thin.
Once the peppers are cool we have to gently peel them and break them up. Doing this part correctly is huge. Please, believe me. One thing we are not going to do is run the peppers under cold water as we peel them to help clean and get the skin off. Do not do this!
Go over to the sink with the bowl of peppers. Have a shallow tray that can hold the cleaned peppers close to the sink. Run some cold water off to the side. Pick a charred pepper out of the bowl and gently start messaging it until you find a good part of the skin to start peeling off with your fingers. Break up the pepper into thirds or quarters depending on its size and place it in the tray. Only run your hands, not the pepper, under the cold (or warm if you wish), running water to clear off the charred skin so too much of it does not show up in the final dish.
Note: The reason why we do not put the peppers in the classic “paper bag” is that when we throw out the bag we just tossed out an enormous amount of flavor with it. Using the glass mixing bowl we are going to incorporate the juices it holds into the marinade. Regarding seeds, I like to get most of them out but leave a few behind. More than anything I feel it gives a very natural and rustic look. Maybe it affects flavor and texture. I don’t really know.
Once all the peppers are skinned, cleaned, piths removed and broken up, and layed out flat in the tray (overlapping is fine), pour the juices of the mixing bowl that held the charred peppers onto the cleaned peppers. You do not have to use all of the juice. Just enough to modestly dress the peppers. Add your sliced garlic, chopped parsley, kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and a splash of good-quality red wine vinegar. Gently toss in the tray and transfer over to your favorite serving platter. Cover tightly with saran wrap and let sit at room temp for at least four hours. Uncover and serve.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Good luck with your peppers!!
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions about this recipe or about what I do.
4 medium-sized red bell peppers
2 medium-sized yellow bell peppers
2 medium-sized orange bell peppers
1 Tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
3 Garlic cloves sliced razor-thin
1 splash of red wine vinegar
Kosher or sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste