I am a girl who likes instant gratification. Patience may be a virtue, just not one of mine. And when it comes to roasting peppers -- many of them naturally smoky in their own right -- I see no advantage over using charcoal vs. gas. The latter, with its ease of control, makes roasting a breeze, getting all of them done evenly and virtually at the same time. The job can be easily done while you relax with a cocktail, this one, perhaps.
If your pepper roasting fear has kept you from involving yourself in the roasting process as, frankly, it has me, let me urge you to put those fears aside and dig in. It’s a breeze, and now is the time to do it while the weather is warm (boy, is it!) and a grill is handy.
Peppers can be roasted over a flame on a gas stove, or broiled in an oven if a grill isn't available. The overall intent is to char the skin, giving the pepper that roasted flavor, and then remove the skin to reveal the flavorful flesh. I've had mixed results (read: complete disaster) when roasting indoors, so for the most part never bothered with any recipe that called for roasting peppers. Thanks to number two son (rewarded here with what is surely the world's best jarred salsa) who encouraged me (did the actual work) that is all behind me. We (okay, he) roasted poblanos, courtesy of Melissa’s Produce.
For the pepper roasting neophyte, here is what you do.
Ignite your gas grill, or get a good fire going in your charcoal grill and set the grate in place.
Line up peppers on the grate and let them roast. You will hear some sizzling and popping noises as the skin begins to char. Use a long tongs to turn them to allow for even roasting.
When they are evenly charred, toss them into a paper bag. When all of the peppers are roasted and in the bag, roll the top of the bag down to close.
Set the bag aside, on a heat resistant surface, and let them hang out there until they are cool enough to handle. Once cool, simply peel the skin off. Honestly, it comes off in big sections like you are peeling a banana.
If you are roasting hot peppers, be sure to wear gloves during handling. Once they are peeled, remove the stem, veins, and seeds. They should look like this.
To keep for future use, place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, place the sheet into the freezer, and leave them for about thirty minutes. Once frozen, remove them from the sheet and put them into plastic bags (and then, of course, back into the freezer).
Label the plastic bag. When a recipe calls for roasted peppers, no matter the season, you'll be all set. Just remove as many pieces as the recipe requires and leave the rest for later.
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