Red pepper pile, part 2: how to roast peppers

Conventional instructions are to put a whole pepper on top of your gas stove, right on the flame.  Let it char, turn it with tongs, and when the whole thing is blackened, put it in a paper bag and let it cool, while it steams itself in the bag.  Take the pepper out and you’ve got a slippery, wiggly pepper, and blackened skin that flakes off in a thousand little pieces.  The blackened skin flakes get all over the sink and your hands. Stop doing this!

Years ago I moved into an apartment with an electric stove and oven. I had to learn to roast my peppers under the electric broiler.  Well, I’ve had a gas stove now for eight years, and I’ve never gone back to using the stovetop. When you broil a flat piece of pepper, it blackens very evenly, and this seems to prevent the flakiness altogether. When I’m roasting a huge quantity, I don’t bother trying to roast the ends of the pepper, because they’re bumpy and won’t blacken evenly.

Earlier this week I chopped, roasted and froze 27 pounds of peppers (83 peppers total!)  I had no time for unevenly blackened bumpy parts.  Here’s my ultra-efficient method.

Cut the bumpy top and bottom off the pepper, and put aside.  Later, chop them up and put them in ziplocs and freeze.  Use later for recipes calling for chopped peppers.

Cut the rest of the pepper into 3-4 large flat pieces.  Lay out the flat pieces on a sheet and put them under the broiler, 5 or 6 inches away.

When all the pepper pieces have blistered and blackened, take the pan out of the oven and somehow cover the peppers so the heat steams the peppers, which helps the peel come off more easily. Enclose them in foil or put them in a covered bowl or whatever works.blackened

When they’re cool enough to handle, just rip off the skin in one piece!

Freezing these is the annoying part.  You have to freeze the pepper pieces before packaging them up, or you’ll end up with big bricks of frozen pepper.  I make little stacks of roasted pepper pieces and freeze them on a sheet pan.  After they’re frozen I put all the little stacks in a bag, and store that in the freezer.

I could eat this salad every day:

Delicious salad recipe
Romaine lettuce, cut into strips
Sliced roasted red peppers
Balsamic vinaigrette
Lots of grated parmesan cheese

Toss and top with more grated parmesan and black pepper. Yum!

7 thoughts on “Red pepper pile, part 2: how to roast peppers

  1. looking forward to hearing about all the ways you use these over the winter. I never thought to do a big freezing production with peppers. I got out of the habit of eating them entirely when I realized I was only comfortable eating the organic, and there was no way I could afford them. I need to revisit the pepper. On my list for Tuesday Market.

  2. Great article, I loved all the details! The tip about freezing the bump ends of the peppers for non-roasted purposes, is so clever, and exactly the kind of practical help I like. Keep it coming! I never new pepper froze well, roasted or not. My eyes have been opened, thank you Food Piler!

  3. K–I write these basic tips with you in mind, my friend! (“Kendra will like this, so I’ll write about it!”) Yes, peppers are one vegetable you don’t have to blanch or do anything to before freezing. Should you eat thawed peppers raw? No. But cooked frozen peppers are pretty identical to cooked fresh peppers.

    Stacia, I’m with you. I’m glad to have figured all of this out, because before my eyes were opened to the pesticide residue issue, I had a serious Stop & Shop $1.99 per pound red pepper habit. Post-eye-opening, I made a roasted red pepper hummus thing a couple years ago in the dead of winter, and I must have spent ten dollars on the peppers. Ridiculous! Never again.

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  5. This is great because I could do it with 10 or with 50 peppers and it’s wouldn’t be so bad, especially because I can cook up a bunch of other stuff while it’s coming together.

    I’ve been curious about red pepper jam too. Anyone make that before?

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