Sicilian Roasted Peppers

Photo credit: http://www.italianfoodforever.com
Photo credit: http://www.italianfoodforever.com

If you’ve been underwhelmed by roasted peppers from a jar, be “peppered” for an entirely different experience when you roast and peel them yourself. It’s a little more work, but well worth the effort.

I usually serve these little delights as an appetizer at room temperature with some nice crusty sourdough or some crackers. (At back to school night, I served them with pita chips.) They’re also great over goat cheese on crostini or mixed with sauteed spinach and ricotta in calzoni. I’ve also used them as burger, sandwich or (post-bake) pizza toppings.

Ingredients

3 red, yellow or orange bell peppers (skip the green ones for this recipe; they’re hard to peel)

a small handful of basil leaves, chopped

2 T extra virgin olive oil

the juice of 1 lemon

1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced into thin shavings

a teaspoon of dried oregano

a pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

salt and pepper (to taste)

an ink-free brown paper bag

Instructions

Move your oven rack to the highest or second-highest setting to get the peppers nice and close to the heat. Preheat your broiler on the highest setting for a couple minutes.

Wash and remove stickers from the peppers and place them, whole, on a foil-lined jellyroll pan under the broiler. Broil until the skin turns black. Carefully turn them on their sides and continue to broil and turn until they’re uniformly charred, about 3-5 minutes per side, plus another 1-2 minutes for the bottoms.

Remove the roasted peppers and place them in the brown bag to cool. (The additional steaming in the bag makes them easier to peel.)

Meanwhile, prepare the marinade by combining all the other ingredients in a serving or storage dish.

Now comes the fun part. Once the peppers are cool to the touch, remove them from the bag (and compost it), peel off and compost all the charred skin, seeds and stems, tossing the fleshy roasted pepper flesh into the marinade as you go. (It’s okay if a few seeds make it into the final dish; that always happens to me no matter how OCD I am about peeling and de-seeding.)

Lastly, let the marinade marry with the peppers for at least a few hours (up to three days). For best results, do not freeze.

Be sure to let the peppers come to room temperature before you enjoy them.


Also published on Medium.

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