Note: For the complete library of At Home blog recipes, see Recipe Index.
Marinated Sweet & Hot Roast Peppers
By mid-summer, sustained heat produces a rainbow of peppers at farm stands and farmers’ markets. These peppers are transformed by roasting such that when paired with slightly soft grilled bread, they are one of the great pleasures of sitting around with friends and family in summer. When buying peppers, select an assortment of colors — mostly sweet peppers with an occasional hot pepper — enough to keep things interesting and preventing a bland bowl of just sweet peppers. If using supermarket peppers, select a mix of red, yellow and orange. They are expensive, but worth it. Do not use green bell peppers as their taste is too aggressive and not sweet. For hot peppers, use mildly hot Poblano or Anaheim and Cubanelle. You want substantially more sweet peppers than hot – maybe five to one.
You will definitely need a spring loaded tongs to turn peppers while charring so don’t even try this without them.
Do ahead Marinated peppers will sit happily in your refrigerator for a month.
2 – 2 1/2 pounds assorted sweet and hot peppers, in a volume ratio of 4-5 sweet to 1 hot
1 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
3 ounces olive oil
3/4 teaspoons Salt, Kosher preferred
1. Preheat broiler to high.
2. Place peppers on foil-lined heavy duty rimmed baking sheet. Depending on how many pounds of peppers, a double layer of foil may be useful to protect your pan and make clean-up easier. Place peppers on sheet and place on shelf closest to flame. Broil until lightly charred, turning peppers as you go to char all over.
3. Remove peppers from oven and immediately transfer to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap to steam peppers. This facilitates peeling peppers.
4. When peppers have cooled enough so they can be handled, place on cutting board. Pull away stem. Peel away skin. Split peppers in half. Remove seeds.
5. When all peppers have been peeled, lay peppers flat. Cut into thin strips. Cut long strips in half.
6. Transfer strips of peppers to bowl. Add garlic, good olive oil and salt.
Yield About 1 1/2 cups
This is a wonderful assortment of peppers purchased at several Philadelphia farmers’ markets. Roasting, peeling and removing seeds is a project made easier if you avoid smaller and long, thin peppers.
Peppers are variable in the time it takes to char and blister so be patient. This is a result of pepper size and how different peppers skin reacts to heat.
Most broilers have two rows of burners down the middle so some peppers will be closer to heat than others. You will need to rotate peppers.
Rotate peppers as you go. As they are round, they may prove slightly stubborn about maintaining the position you want them. As they soften, don’t hesitate to apply a little pressure — squishing them to position them as you need to. Instead of a broiler, you could do lots of peppers at a time over a hot grill. Char peppers over high heat.
Turn as you go. Remove fully charred peppers to bowl and cover. Add more peppers as space allows. Peppers do not have to be fully charred, but can be substantially blistered and you will be able to peel away skin. As peppers heat, the air inside will expand and some peppers will “explode” — simply meaning they will split open. This is fine.
Transfer charred peppers to a bowl and cover so they steam. Steaming helps to remove charred skin. Rather than wrapping and unwrapping with plastic wrap, you can just place a plate on top to “seal” bowl. As peppers char on outside they steam and soften on the inside. Keep both your covered bowl for charred peppers and your un-charred peppers near broiler to make it more convenient to deposit your charred peppers and add un-charred peppers to the tray as you go.
Once all peppers have been charred and steamed in their bowl, it’s time for the somewhat tedious task of peeling and removing seeds. Here’s a set-up to make this task easier. From left to right:
1. Container to discard peel and seeds.
2. Damp cloth to keep area clean. A pastry scraper also helps.
3. Empty bowl for peeled peppers
4. Bowl of charred and steamed peppers.
You will also need a sharp paring knife to scrape away peel and cut strips.
Larger, thicker peppers are easier to peel. You have to be pretty careful with thinner skinned peppers to remove peel and seeds without destroying peppers meaty flesh.
First remove stem and peel from all peppers waiting to remove seeds until all peppers are peeled. You can just pull out the stem or cut away the pepper’s top including stem. Next, split peppers and carefully remove all seeds. As you go, it is useful to continuously wipe your peeling and seeding area clean to prevent pesky peel and seeds from sticking to the peppers you have cleaned. Stack cleaned peppers in bowl. Take care in handling hot peppers. The volatile oils will sit on your fingers — and counter and cutting surface — and if you touch your eye or other soft membrane it will be painful. If this happens, wash well with soapy water and rinse well.
Once you have peeled all peppers and removed seeds, take one or two peppers at a time, check to be sure that there are not errant seeds sticking to pepper and lay flat on cutting board.
With a sharp knife, cut peppers into strips. If peppers are long, cut strips in half. Long strips of peppers are messier when placing on hors d’oeuvres-sized crostini or grilled grilled bread.
When you are done you have wonderfully naked strips of sweet and hot peppers waiting for their marinade…and a mess of peel and seeds to discard. This is a double batch.
Garlic is the natural compliment to peppers. Patiently chop until garlic is very finely chopped as you don’t want your guests biting into a chunk of garlic. The garlic is not essential, but strongly recommended.
Mix peppers well with garlic, good olive oil and salt. They get better the longer they marinate and will keep in refrigerator for a month. Serve on crostini or grilled bread. See At Home Page 82 for a crostini recipe.
Look tomorrow for instructions on grilling bread