Technique: How to Slice, Roast, and Peel a Red Pepper
The seeds in a pepper are annoying on lots of levels. In a hot pepper, they are the heat. You can love them or leave them. In a neutral pepper, they are not useful at all. When you cut your pepper, they fly all over the place and make a mess.
Here’s an easy way to slice a pepper for chopping, roasting, or taking a big crunchy bite:
With the stem-end facing up, cut down the sides of the pepper around the stem. Cut four or five slices all the way around, leaving the stem-end intact. Imagine you are trying to avoid the center lobe of the pepper that contains all of the seeds as you cut. Most of the seeds will stay with the core, and you can dispose of that and wipe away the rest of the seeds with ease.
Roasting peppers, like roasting tomatoes, could not be easier. The process concentrates the flavors of the pepper and softens it for myriad uses. Place the slices of pepper cut-side down, skin-side up on a heavy baking sheet. Place the sheet under the broiler until the peppers are good and charred, about 10 minutes. Check the peppers every couple of minutes. If you want to make your clean-up extra easy, line your baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil.
The charred skin is going to go away, so don’t worry about burning the peppers—that’s really what you’re after. The pepper underneath the blistered, dark skin is still bright red but now smoky, pliable, and delicious.
To peel the roasted peppers with ease, place them right out of the oven into a bowl. Place a lid on the bowl, using a plate or cutting board. Let the peppers steam like this for a good ½ hour or longer. The skin will slide off mostly with ease, especially if the peeling is done under cool running water.
Roasted peppers will keep in the fridge for at least a week. They’re so nice to have around. Douse them with some olive oil to keep them moist and use them on sandwiches, in salads, rolled up with a thin slice of sautéed eggplant and a thin layer of herbed goat cheese for an appetizer, or in the smooth, nutty dip we’ll make tomorrow.
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