Lauren Groveman a recipe for delicious living

Grilled Fresh Peppers

(October 4, 2007)
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Liz asked Lauren:

Dear Lauren,

I roast peppers over a gas flame, as you instructed in one of your columns, and I peel them and seed them and we eat them all week long (my family loves them). However, when I grill peppers, with the intentions of eating them hot, right off the grill, the skin on the peppers, which gets very dark and texturally sharp (hard to describe) is not agreeable to us. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong or if there is a way to grill peppers and get them tender without having to deal with the skins. Thanks so much!

Lauren says...

The term "roasted" when referring to cooking peppers on a grill or over a direct flame (or under intense heat, as when broiling) is really a misnomer since the term "roasting" technically indicates that food is given full exposure to dry heat, when cooking, which happens in an oven (or a closed grill, over indirect heat). The term "fire-roasting" is much more accurate when talking about peppers that will become totally blackened on the outside before being peeled, seeded, and served. If grilling peppers, whether using charcoal or a gas grill (or when using a stove top grill, for that matter) the results will be the same (to varying degrees depending on the intensity of the heat source), which are peppers with blackened skins, as if you cooked them over a direct flame, on the stove.

Perfectly cooked "grilled" peppers, however, should be tender, glistening with garlic-flecked olive oil and the outside should have caramelized edges and toasty grill marks, without any of the acrid flavor and texture attributed to blackened skins. The best way to do this is to simply remove the skin from the peppers, using a sharp vegetable peeler, before seasoning and grilling. Here's a quick, easy recipe, to help get you to a delicious result when you want to eat Grilled Fresh Peppers.

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Grilled Fresh Peppers

Yield: serves 4 to 6

Fresh Peppers

As you'll notice when reading this recipe, there are several ingredients listed as "optional." That's because the only "must haves" when it comes to grilling fresh peppers are the peppers, a flavorful lubricant and some salt and pepper. These peppers are spectacular and, in my house, are gobbled up!

    Special Equipment:

  • Gas or charcoal grill or a stove-top grill pan
  • Sturdy, sharp vegetable peeler
  • Sturdy tongs
    Ingredients:

  • 3 large bell peppers (red and/or yellow)
  • Garlic Confit Oil (or regular extra-virgin oil) as needed
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme; optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper and Kosher or sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves; optional
  • Balsamic vinegar, for serving; optional
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, as garnish; optional

1) To prepare the peppers for grilling: Use a sturdy vegetable peeler to remove the outer skins of the whole peppers. Cut each pepper in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds and any white, pithy membranes from the interior.

2) To season the peppers: Combine some garlic oil, if using, or some regular olive oil with the minced garlic and the fresh thyme, if using. Add some pepper to the oil mixture and brush this liberally over all sides of the peppers. Place in a dish until ready to grill.

3) To cook the peppers: Preheat a gas grill on high or heat a charcoal grill until the coals are red hot on the bottom and white on top and the grill grate is very hot. Season the peppers with salt to taste, and then grill them over direct heat, turning them several times, until tender, blistered and caramelized around the edges, basting occasionally with some of the seasoned olive oil.

4) To serve: Remove the peppers to a serving platter and, if desired, strew over the top some slivered fresh basil leaves. Serve hot or at room temperature, with an optional carafe of balsamic vinegar and a bowl carrying a pile of shaved parmesan cheese.

Timing is Everything:

  • Lauren Logo The peppers can be peeled and seasoned a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator, covered.

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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 Amazon.com.

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 www.laurengroveman.com

Lauren is a Larchmont resident. She is happily married and blessed with three wonderful children.