The sweet and acidic taste of red bell peppers brings to my mind thoughts of citrussy tanginess mellowed by sun-warmed earthiness, a perfect combination of fruit and vegetable that compliments or enhances almost any type of salad greens or meat dishes. I find that roasting red bell peppers intensifies their flavours, adding a smoky richness that deepens the taste of the peppers’ juices and oils. Jars of fire-roasted red peppers are readily available, preserved in oils or brines, but nothing beats the freshness of the flavours of red peppers you have roasted yourself, served either warm from the grill or chilled and added to a tray of appetizers. It’s not hard to prepare them yourself. Barbecue season is fast approaching, and roasted red peppers are a tasty and nutritious accompaniment to grilled meat of any kind. If it’s too cold yet or you haven’t gotten your patio ready, you can use the oven broiler to prepare roasted red peppers. In case you may not have done this before, here are step-by-step directions for making roasted red peppers.
I used about two pounds of sweet red bell peppers. Either fire up your barbecue or preheat your oven broiler and adjust the racks. If you are broiling the peppers, line a shallow pan with tin foil. (The juices from the peppers runs and scorches, making it hard to remove afterward; tin foil makes clean-up much easier.) If you are fire-roasting on the barbecue, generously oil the rack. Broil or roast the peppers 4 inches from the heat, turning them about every five minutes as they blister and blacken, until the peppers have blackened all over, about 20 minutes. The blackened skins if the peppers will have a slightly mottled pattern.
Remove the peppers from the grill or oven and cover them with a towel. When they are cool enough to be handled, remove the skins with your fingers (the skins will come away easily). The flesh of the peppers will be soft and separate easily from the stems and membranes. Remove the stems and seeds. The seeds and bits of the skins tend to cling to your fingers, but so I keep a bowl of water near for cleaning them off my hands without wetting the peppers. I prefer not to rinse the roasted peppers under water so that I do not wash away the flavourful juice of the roasted peppers.
You can tear the peppers into 1-inch strips or, if you prefer, slice them as you please. Either serve them immediately while they are still warm, as a vegetable side dish to compliment your main entree, or add them to a salad. Alternatively, you can store them in a glass container in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them at a later date. They will keep for 2or 3 days if refrigerated.