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Garlic-Scented Roasted Peppers

This image courtesy of Mark Ferri

At least once a week, my family dinner includes a large platter of roasted red and yellow peppers, partnered with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced ruby-red beefsteak tomatoes, and thin wedges of sweet red onions, topped with a scattering of my favorite olives and a small handful of drained capers. Often I add a bunch of cleaned baby arugula or basil leaves that I either park on one side of the peppers or tuck neatly in between the tomatoes or peppers. Whether sliced and tossed into a simmering sauce or a succulent stew, chopped and incorporated into a rice pilaf or used as a piquant topping for hot slices of garlic toast that accompanies a soup meal or cocktails, roasted peppers in your refrigerator enable you to quickly embellish your meals. And don’t limit this to sweet bell peppers since the roasting process also works well on jalapeños.

NotesHere’s the Scoop: On Roasting Peppers Perfectly

In my cooking classes, I’m often asked “Can you overroast a pepper?” The answer is yes. The secret to obtaining perfectly roasted peppers is to not overcook them, since retaining their fresh texture is part of the reason for making them at home in the first place (and not resorting to the jarred variety, which are softer). Once they are blackened, continued exposure to heat will just leave the peppers overcooked. Also, keep in mind that when the pepper is cooling, the flesh will become even more tender. So, for perfect roasted peppers, rotate the pepper as it blackens and remove the skin it as soon as it’s cool enough to handle.

Timing is Everything:

The peppers can be roasted, skinned, seeded, flavored with oil and ground pepper, and stored in the refrigerator, securely covered, several days ahead and used throughout the week. The addition of fresh garlic, however, reduces their longevity, so avoid adding garlic more than one or two days before serving.

Cooking Methodroasting

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseantipasto/mezze, cold appetizer

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Taste and Texturegarlicky, smoky, sweet

Type of DishCondiments, vegetable

Ingredients

  • As many red and yellow bell peppers as desired
  • Garlic Confit Oil or extra virgin olive oil as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Thinly sliced or minced fresh garlic to taste (optional)
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Stick a sturdy metal skewer into the stem end of a red or yellow bell pepper and place the pepper over and into a direct flame. Let the skin blister and become blackened, turning frequently. When blackened all over, slide it off the skewer directly onto a clean kitchen towel or into a paper lunch bag. Enclose the pepper completely in the towel (or scrunch the bag shut) and let it steam until it becomes tender and cool enough to handle. Repeat for the remaining peppers.

  2. Alternatively, preheat the broiler with the rack as close as possible to the heating element. Halve the peppers and lay them on a cold broiler pan, skin side up. Broil the peppers until the skins are blackened and blistered, then remove them from the oven and let them cool as described above.

  3. Unwrap the peppers (they will look somewhat shriveled and feel limp), and rub the blackened skins off, revealing the flesh. If little stubborn bits of the blackened skin bother you, just rinse them off, though this will remove a bit of their smoky flavor. Cut the peppers in half through the stem end (if not already halved), and pull out their veins and seeds. Again, feel free to lightly rinse out any stray seeds; then dry the peppers meticulously and place them in a clean wide-mouth jar or in a sturdy plastic tub. Drizzle the peppers with the garlic oil or olive oil and grind in some black pepper. If serving within 24 hours, you can layer several thinly sliced (or minced) garlic cloves within the halved peppers. If serving that day, keep the peppers at room temperature. If planning to refrigerate, for best flavor, bring the peppers close to room temperature before serving. In a pinch, zap them in the microwave (uncovered) for 30 seconds to 1 minute on high, just to help loosen any congealed oil and to take off their chill. Sprinkle the peppers lightly with kosher salt just before serving.

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