Tuesday, October 6, 2009

ROASTED PEPPERS

Chris came home with a big bag of red peppers one night last week. They have been $3.00+ a pound for a long time, so at a dollar each, these felt like riches. He’s very fond of a tiny bowl of roasted pepper strips, with a little slick of olive oil and coarse sea salt, alongside whatever else might be on his plate.

A long-ago friend taught us how to roast them on the grill, back in the Nineties, and we’ve enjoyed them in countless dishes since.

So, from this beginning:
Click to embiggen, but jump back:





To charring all around, to black in lots of places, so the skins will become wrinkly and crisp in spots:




Into a double-paper-bag, to fold down and let them huddle in their sauna for a while, to loosen all that papery skin and finish tenderizing the peppers:



After about twenty minutes dump them onto a tray to cool until you can handle them. (or into plastic bags and into the fridge as I did, to chill overnight because it was suppertime). The peppers had been kept company on the grill by a big juicy hamburger each---so big, in fact, we had to slice them horizontally for a comfortable bite. His with mayo, tomato, onion, and Cheater pickles on the side; mine with mustard, onion, dill pickles. He ate his bare half-burger on the side---I had mine for lunch the next day.


When you’re ready to peel the peppers, lay them out on the tray, slip off the skin (you may have to scrape the blackened bits a bit, but not usually. The easiest way to seed them completely is to pull out the softened stem section---most of the seeds will come out with it. Then cut or tear the pepper down one side, so you can lay it out flat, with the insides up.

Use the fingerprint side of your entire index finger for a gentle rub across the pepper wherever any seeds have adhered. They’ll slide right off onto the tray for discarding, but try not to dispose of any of the lovely juices---pour them into a bowl with the peppers. Unless there's a real puddle, you can drip the juice off the edge, whilst the seeds hang on where they are, like Rose and Jack on the rail.

Slice peppers into long strips or cut up like pimiento from the jar---they’re delicious in Paminna Cheese as well. The strips filled a ½ gallon square Tupperware, and the juice came up about halfway. Store in fridge up to two weeks---I’ve bought them in oil, but I’ve never stored them in it---those are commercially canned, and there are some cautions about storing some kinds of vegetables in oil.

When you’re ready to use, just take out what you need, warm them gently in the microwave, drizzle on a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt, or serve any way you like. (Especially tossed with hot pasta and freshly-grated PR).

We had some the next night for a first course of Pepper Soup (sautéed onion, a quart of chicken broth, a little salt, and two chopped peppers, simmered for a bit, then cooled and whirled in two batches in the blender, then strained back into the pot. This was just a tad thin, so I thickened it with a little cornstarch slurry at serving time) and Corn Fritters. There WAS a garnish of sour cream, but it sank without a trace, but was a nice surprise, stirred up all creamy and warm from the bottom of the bowl.


And storing the peppers in the bags overnight lent an extra hint of smokiness to the entire bowl, adding extra depth to the soup.



Before the soup, Chris had a few raw oysters and horseradishy cocktail sauce, and then a plate of Fried Oysters with remoulade, lemon and sliced tomatoes. I had a tomato stuffed with tuna salad and a couple more corn fritters. Nice dinner on a Fall's-almost-here night.

5 comments:

Indy Cookie said...

Your post has made my mouth water and your pictures are just wonderful!!! I wonder if you could freeze them after roasting?

racheld said...

Of course---just pack them tight into a Freezer zip-loc, then into another, squeezing all the air out of each one. You can then put several into yet another bigger bag---the thicker the better on the bag---so as not to lose the small packages.

I'm not fond of freezing peppers---somehow no matter how much you wrap them, they seem to impart that bitter-tang taste to packages of food around them.

About the pictures---Chris takes most of them, but I posted today without having him size them down. We've been so busy, I haven't asked him to make them into the right size. They FILL the screen, don't they?

Ondine said...

*sigh*

What a wonderful haul, and what a lovely meal! I can taste the smoke and the almost-snap in the air.

Keetha said...

Yum yum yum - pepper soup!

Jennifer B said...

I've never tried roasting peppers before but I always want to try. After seeing this, I think I may go on ahead and try it out! The meal looks delicious!