Kris said this to me as we struggled to come up with an explanation as to why this recipe post looks less like a How-To and more like the world's most kitschy murder confession.
Allow me to introduce you to your new favorite condiment: the roasted red pepper.
There was no getting around it. With every few shots, Kris hesitated, and it was clear to see why. Looking at the photos, some felt more like they held a place in an episode of CSI: Seattle than on our little blog. And as far as we want to travel with you all, the last place we want the Fourth Place to rest is on a crime scene. But the true pitfall of this recipe is that it’s hard to make enough of it. Eventually, your roommate/partner/life coach is going to start to get concerned about the fact that half of your weekly food bill is being spent on red peppers.
Let’s get past the shenanigans and my repressed desires to be a forensic anthropologist, and get down to it. There are two ways to prepare these. I’m detailing below the more traditional way, but if you’re impatient for these little red devils (I’ve been there, I get you), the Recipe Notes section has a quick fix method meant just for you. Now, grab a reasonably sharp knife, cutting board, baking pan, oil, and as many red peppers as you’d like. This is literally all you need to change your life and have friends officially stick you into the “gourmand” column.
Slice the tops of the peppers as thinly as you can and remove the stem. You’ll see the seeded pit is probably still there; just slice through the membrane, and then cut your bell pepper in half.
Coat the bottom of a tinfoil lined pan liberally in oil, and lay bell peppers right on there cut-side down. Roast at 450° for 20 minutes and give the pan a little shake to unstick the bottoms, and roast for another 15 minutes. They’ll start to look like this.
The skin is starting to char and pull away from the fruit, but we’re not there yet! Roast for another 15-20 minutes and they’ll be looking not unlike myself after a day on the lake having ignored Kris’ pleads for me to wear suntan lotion; roasted beyond imagination, but sweet and well-intentioned:
They look black on the bottom, but I assure you they’re not burnt. At this point, turn your oven off and return the pan back into the cooling oven. This allows the peppers to “sweat”, effectively making the skins easier to remove. If you think your peppers might be too close to being over-cooked, you can also accomplish this by tenting the pan with foil and letting it rest on the counter, effectively cooling it faster because your house now smells like a European cafe and you need these in your face right now. You don’t know this yet, but your whole life has been leading up to this moment.
You’ll see that the skin has pulled away from the flesh of the fruit, and now you have a few options. The charred skin is leathery and tough, not at all pleasant in large quantities. If you’re planning on slicing these bad boys up, remove as much of the skin as possible. You should be able to do this quite easily, if not a little messily. But if you’re planning on pureeing the peppers for a sauce or to more easily pump through an IV directly into your bloodstream, feel free to leave pieces of the skin for a touch of charred flavor.
They’re just as good eaten right away, or in the fridge for a week, or the freezer for a few months if they last that long (they won’t). If you know how to jar things, have at it (and PM me to teach me how to jar things). Slice it up to put on sandwiches, pizzas, salads, fold it into strombolis, bake it into bread, top your crackers or avocado toasts, or toss lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and eat them on their own. These peppers shrink up mighty small, but by god do they pack a wallop.
Let’s meet next over some wine and sterilized mason jars. Let’s do a business. A murder business. No, sorry. It's the True Crime podcasts talking...
Roasted Red Peppers
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
4 red bell peppers
3 tbsp neutral oil (canola, vegetable, sunflower)
Preheat oven to 450°. Slice red bell peppers in half. Remove stems and seeds.
Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and drizzle with oil. Lay peppers cut side down.
Roast for 20 minutes or so. Shake the pan, and roast another 15 minutes. Shake the pan one more time and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the skin is charred black in spots, and the bottoms are blackened but not hard and crispy.
Shut off the heat and leave the peppers in the cooling oven. After 20 minutes or so, the fruit will start to deflate and pull away from the skin. Pull out of the oven and let cool for 30 minutes or until cool to the touch, after which point you can peel the skins right off. To quicken this process, remove the pan from the oven immediately after roasting and cover the pan with another sheet of foil until cool, 30 minutes or so.
Slice as desired and serve right away or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
If you’re in a rush, this recipe can be done in half the time. The traditional method yields a sweeter final product and leaves less room for over-burning, but the quick fix way is also tasty. Just make sure you’re keeping a constant eye on the oven!
Set the oven to Broil, and prepare peppers as directed.
Place tray on the middle rack, and let sizzle for 5-7 minutes. When the skins start to blister, flip the peppers and roast another 5-7 minutes. Flip again, and roast until the skin is charred and blackened, another 5 minutes or so.
Remove from oven, cover with foil, and “sweat” the peppers for 10-12 minutes, or until the skin wrinkles and pulls away from the fruit. Serve/store as previously directed.
Be mindful of your oven! A lot of ovens just burn hotter than others, or less so. For your first batch, check the peppers every 12 minutes or so. If they’re blackening too quickly, turn the temperature down to 425° and continue to roast.