Sunday, March 17, 2013

Roasted red peppers

I used to think of roasted peppers as one of those expensive delicacies one eats on special occasions and at restaurants, like an olive-and-cheese platter, or fondue. Then I started seeing them in sandwiches, and on pizza, and even on the shelves at Costco.

The ubiquity of roasted peppers doesn't make them any less flavorful, though. Unlike simple sauteed peppers, they have a complex smoked flavor and a texture that is reminiscent of mushrooms, but really nothing like them at all. Roasted red peppers are simply unique, and in this season of colorful abundance, they can grace your pantry.

This recipe requires hands-on work, but it's well worth it - no canning, just preserving at room temperature. This makes two jars, so you can eat one and save the other. Buy up a bunch of peppers while they're in season (ask for a deal at your farmer's market!), and these sweet peppers will last until next summer.
 
See the full recipe with explanations here. This is a very comprehensive recipe that gives you all the caveats and how-tos and troubleshooting. The post is also SO beautifully written you'll want to read it for poetic value alone.

Simplified version of the above recipe:
Wash 8 peppers and pat dry.Coat very lightly with oil.Arrange them in a tray on your broiler and turn on.Turn periodically, until most of the pepper is charred.Place in paper bag, roll closed, for 20-40 minutes.Remove skins, stems, and seeds with hands (no water) into a bowl. Let juices drip into bowl.Dredge each pepper in vinegar (apple cider, red wine, sherry, etc) and place in another bowl.Salt peppers and toss gently. Repeat.Salt pepper juice in other bowl.
Pour a little vinegar to coat bottom of 2 jars.
Pack in peppers - about 4 to each jar.Pour in pepper juices and vinegar to top of peppers.Top with olive oil to 1/4 inch of top. Seal jar and store in the fridge.

The best part? The aroma on your hands afterward!

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