Great Tips For Roasting Peppers
Roasting peppers is really pretty straightforward, but there are a few things you need to do, and a few things you should not do, to make everything turn out all right. Peppers can be roasted in an oven, but most will agree that roasting them over an open flame, or on a grill, produces by far the best flavor.
Typically, when roasting peppers, bell peppers are the vegetable of choice, although the jalapeño pepper is a favorite of many. You can roast most any pepper you want to, but some care needs to be taken when roasting the hot or chili varieties. Bell peppers do not cause any problems when roasting or preparing as far as getting an irritant in your eyes, mouth or skin is concerned. A bit more about that later.
Peppers need to be roasted until they turn black, not crispy black, but black. Unless the skin has been charred, peeling it off will be difficult, if not impossible. The trick is to char the skin without doing the same to the fruit inside. The most important cooking utensil you'll need, besides a knife, and something to scoop out the seeds with, is a pair of tongs. A hot, roasted pepper is like a hot potato, maybe even more so. You don't want to be handling one with bare hands.
Beware The Effects Of Capsicum - When you're working with raw chili peppers, you probably already know that if you touch the juices, you don't want to put your fingers near your eyes or mouth. You can even breathe in the capsicum vapors, a source of some discomfort. When you cook a chili pepper, it loses some of the capsicum, which is what gives the pepper its heat. When roasting a chili pepper, it will also release capsicum, into the air, which is one reason it's always best to roast this kind of pepper on a grill, out of doors, so you don't inhale the chemical. When you prepare the pepper after roasting, the oils will still be potent enough that you don't want to handle them, then rub your eyes or nose. You'll soon regret it.
After Roasting - Let's assume though that you're roasting bell peppers, and you won't have all that to worry about. When they are done roasting, remove them from the grill, cut them in halves or quarters, remove the seeds, and then place them in an air-tight container, a Glad-bag will do, for at lest 20 minutes. The fruit of the pepper will continue to "cook" a little more during that time, making the skins much easier to remove, while not adversely affecting the flavor. Once the peppers have cooled down enough to peel, you can slice or chop them as you wish, and use them as appetizers, with other foods, or freeze them as you wish. They keep well when frozen.
Eating Ideas - If you get into the habit of roasting peppers, you'll soon discover that substituting roasted peppers, where you used raw peppers before, will give you enhanced flavor, a slightly smoky flavor, if they've been roasted over an open flame. Even if you have a recipe which calls for fried peppers, roasting them first will often give you this improved flavor. If you like to make your own salsa, try using roasted instead of raw peppers, and notice the difference. Another idea is to place the roasted peppers in a pan, with a little oil and bits of garlic, fry and serve with bread or pasta. Whether you use vegetable oil or olive oil is a matter of taste, some prefer one over the other. Of course roasted peppers are a natural as an addition to a Mexican dish, and won't do damage to a salad either.