Posted by on May 14, 2015 in Kitchen Basics, Secret Weapons, Small Plates, Vegetable World | 0 comments

With just a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of anchovies, red and yellow bell peppers make a beautiful and simple little dish. Same goes for serving them with sliced mozzarella and torn fresh basil leaves–a nice change from Insalata Caprese. Hotter peppers, like poblanos, can be tossed with strips of bell peppers and a lime-olive oil dressing for a side dish or burger topping.

Whether you’re roasting bell peppers, poblanos or other large chiles, choose boxy, flat-sided peppers with thick flesh. They will blacken more evenly and quickly. Smaller chiles–jalapenos and seranos–can be tricky as they fall through the grates on the grill or slip through the cracks and into the flame of a stove. If you’re going to be roasting a lot of smaller chiles buy a cheap but sturdy cooling rack and place it over the gas flame or set it on top of the grill bars to keep the little guys in line.

Using a gas range: Turn the flame to high. Balance the peppers on the grate over the flame and let the underside blacken completely. Turn the peppers as necessary with a long pair of tongs until all sides are evenly blackened.

Roasted Pepper Plate

Grill-roasted peppers, ready to peel

Using a broiler: Position the rack about 5 inches from the broiler and preheat the broiler to its highest setting. Broil the peppers on a broiler pan, turning them as necessary, until they are completely and evenly blackened on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes.

On a grill: Pretty much the same as over a gas range but be sure the grill is good and hot.

As they char, put the peppers into a large bowl. You do not have to put them in to a brown paper bag, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, put them in a zip-loc bag or do the hula while they cool. They will peel just as easily with no folderol. I know. I’ve done it a million times. Before you start to peel them, make  sure the peppers and the liquid inside them are completely cool. To peel, work over a bowl and, starting at the pointy end, pull the pepper into sections following the ridges in the pepper. Place the pepper pieces blackened side up on a cutting board and scrape the blackened skin off with a small knife. Resist the temptation to rinse the peppers, as you will lose a lot of the flavor—the very reason you roasted them in the first place. Use latex or other protective gloves when peeling chiles. You’ll thank me.