a recipe for delicious living
Garlic-Scented Roasted Peppers
(May 10, 2007)
...submit your question to Lauren!
Brenda asked Lauren:
We love peppers and I will often cut them and sauté them
to serve with grilled meats. I have never roasted peppers at home but
I will use the ones in the glass jars from the supermarket. I find them
to be quite good. Does roasting them yourself really make that much difference
in the taste? And, if so, what's the best way to do this since the term
roasting is done in the oven, but books say to cook peppers over a gas
flame. I'm confused.
Actually, Brenda, I'm surprised someone else hasn't brought this confusing
point up sooner. Let me address the last part of your question first.
Yes, it's true that the word roasting does refer to the oven, most often.
But, the truth is that the term itself means to surround something (hopefully
food) fully to dry heat. So, roasting can be accomplished in a conventional
oven, a wood-burning oven, in a barbecue and also by repetitively rotating
something over a direct flame (or under intense heat, in the case of broiling).
So, as long as you have a heat source, you can roast peppers.
To address the first part of your question, yes, there are discernable
differences between store-bought and homemade roasted peppers. That's
not to say that I don't always have jarred peppers on my pantry shelf
because I do and happily use them when I don't have the homemade ones
in my fridge. And, you're right, they're quite good. When done correctly
at home, roasted peppers taste fresher and allow the cook to have more
control over retaining a more meaty texture. But, conversely, when over-cooked
at home, the jarred ones will be much firmer and tastier.
The easiest peppers to roast (albeit the most pricey) are Holland
peppers because of their dense, meaty texture. The others (domestic
peppers) have thinner flesh and are more susceptible to over-roasting
(too soft a texture). Having said this, all peppers can be roasted successfully
(even the small jalapeno peppers), if you are focused and remember a few
The best way to roast peppers and maintain fresh texture
is to use the direct flame method because the heat is being administered
in the most deliberate, section-by-section, way. The best tasting roasted
peppers are done over a direct charcoal flame so that the flesh becomes
imbued with the flavor of smoldering coals. The peppers are secured with
sturdy skewers (preferably stainless steel) and then they're rotated over
bottom heat until the outer skins of the peppers are blackened. You can
also rotate the peppers, using long tongs. (If using a gas grill, have
the setting on high.) To roast peppers indoors, place the peppers (on
skewers) over a direct gas flame, rotating the pepper as the outer skin
blackens. You can also do this using a preheated stove-top grill pan.
The most important thing to remember is to not go overboard
when blackening the skins. Once the skins are blackened in one area, you
must turn the pepper to expose another area to heat. Then, once the peppers
are blackened, they get removed from the heat and wrapped loosely in a
clean kitchen towel so that they can become cool enough to handle (the
steam created from the hot pepper, when trapped in the towel, will also
help to tenderize the flesh). Then, once just warm, all the blackened
skin gets rubbed off (it's very easy…). The pepper gets halved and the
seeds are removed. After this, all you do is decide whether to slice,
dice or to leave them halved. I usually make a batch each week and store
them in the fridge, either alone or drizzled with some fruity olive oil
and thinly sliced fresh garlic.
If you have an electric stove and don't have a grill,
you'll want to broil the halved peppers, skinned side up, as close as
possible to the heat source. Once the skins become blackened, take them
out of the oven, wrap in a towel and follow the same instructions for
cooling, peeling and seeding as described above. Roasting the whole pepper
in a hot oven (at 500F for 15 to 20 minutes) is doable, but this will
just soften the pepper and not impart any particular flavor. In this case,
you'd want to flavor the peppers with olive oil and minced garlic and,
once the peppers have surrendered most (not all) of their texture, let
them sit and cool (not wrapped) at room temperature. Peppers done this
way will not get peeled but will need to be halved and seeded.
Another great way to grill peppers!
If you don't want to deal with peeling peppers, but want a really savory
flavor do this:
Using a sturdy vegetable peeler, peel away the outer skins of the raw
peppers. Cut peppers in half and remove their seeds and any tasteless,
white pithy sections from their inside cavities. Mix some extra-virgin
olive oil, minced garlic, black pepper and some hot red pepper flakes
in a bowl and brush this over all sides of the halved peppers.
Grill over hot coals (or use a gas grill set to high) or on a preheated
(hot) stove-top grill pan until the flesh is tender and somewhat blistered
and slightly charred but totally savory looking. Brush with the olive
oil-garlic mixture as you cook the peppers, turning occasionally. Season
the peppers with coarse salt to taste and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
(If desired, before removing the cooked peppers from the grill lay some
fresh mozzarella in their cavities. Reduce the heat and cover just until
the cheese melts. Serve hot.)
Here's an official recipe for Garlic-Scented Roasted Peppers
that I have made more times than I can count!
least once a week, my family dinner will include 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,
and topped with a scattering of my favorite olives and a small handful
of drained capers. Often I’ll add either 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, having roasted peppers
in the refrigerator enables you to quickly embellish your meals. And don’t
limit this to only sweet bell peppers since the roasting process also
works well on hot jalapenos. Any time I've suggested a tool, a piece of
equipment, or a culinary term that's unfamiliar to you, you can go to
Management to get more information.
For the Roasted Peppers:
- As many red and yellow bell peppers as desired
- Garlic Confit Oil, as needed or use best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Thinly sliced or minced fresh garlic, to taste (optional)
- Kosher or sea salt, to taste
1) To roast the peppers: 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. Alternatively,
to broil the peppers, 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
2) To skin, seed and flavor the peppers: First unwrap
them (they will look somewhat shriveled and feel limp). Rub the blackened
skins off the peppers, 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, 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 another great-tasting olive oil and grind in some
freshly ground black pepper to taste. If serving within 24 hours, you
can layer several thinly sliced (or minced) garlic cloves within the halved
3) To serve: 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 extreme chill.
Sprinkle the peppers lightly with coarse salt just before serving.
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, will reduce their longevity, so avoid adding garlic more than
one or two days before serving.
Questions for Lauren Groveman's Kitchen:
Lauren Groveman recipes have been featured
in many national magazines and local newspapers. Her books "The
I love to Cook Book: Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking for Family and Friends"
and "Lauren Groveman's Kitchen, Nurturing Food
for Family and Friends" are available through
For in depth information on Lauren Groveman as a writer, teacher, TV &
radio host, as well as her recipes and cooking tips visit her website at
Lauren is a Larchmont resident. She is happily married and
blessed with three wonderful children.