May 27, 2008

Roast Your Own

Bell peppers are expensive. Later in the season when we head to Yakima for a hike and some U-pick or farmer's market veggie shopping, we find great prices. In the meantime, I look for the sales. I happened to be at a local produce stand just a few blocks from home and spotted yellow peppers 2/$1. Fair enough, I thought. Then I noticed the $1 bin. I love the $1 bin when it comes to produce. You can find such great stuff. Grocers (big and small) will cull the first thing that doesn't look like a glossy magazine advertisement. Hopefully, they are passing these "seconds" on to us. Take advantage of this! There is enough waste in this country as it is. From the $1 I picked up five yellow peppers - for $1. One pepper had a bruise - easily cut away. A couple others were starting to get wrinkles. So? Besides, my plan was to roast them so aesthetics aside, I scored! Roasting peppers at home is easy. If you have a gas stove simply set the pepper right on the flame and char all the way around. If you have an electric stove (boo hoo) like we do, you can "roast" them under the broiler. Depending on the size of the peppers, you might have to use the second rack from the top. Or use your charcoal or gas grill outside.

For these yellow bells, I had the rack on the first slot. Simply place the peppers right under the broiler coils and wait. I set a cookie sheet on the rack below because the peppers will drip. I leave the oven door ajar and peek on them frequently. While I'm doing dishes or making another part of the meal, I can roast a whole bunch of peppers. Using tongs I gently turn the peppers until all sides are charred.

I remove them from the oven and set them all in a bowl. I cover the bowl with a big plate or a pot lid to let the peppers steam in their own heat. Later, I come back to find them cool and manageable. Peel off the char and pull out the stem and seeds. Don't rinse - you will wash away the flavor. Store in the refrigerator in a covered container.

These are great on salads, on sandwiches, diced into pilaf, or eaten as part of an antipasti platter.


Anonymous said...

This is something I will make and enjoy. If I want to store them for any length of time, do I need to pack in oil?

Peter M said...

Us Greeks have been roasting peppers for ages. In the fall, I'll even roast bushels and freeze them with their charred skins in ziplock bags.

vb said...

Anonymous: You can cover them with olive oil and store in the refrigerator. Also, you can freese them, like the peter m mentions in his comment.

peter m: yes, a big batch is a great idea. I have frozen them too, with layers of wax paper in between. It's hard to pass up a good deal on peppers and freezing is the way to go.


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