Roasted red peppers bear little resemblance to raw red bell peppers. The roasting process transforms them from firm and crunchy and to velvety soft and it brings out their natural sweetness. Whether you roast them in the oven or on the grill, the process is simple and totally satisfying. Homemade roasted peppers are exceptionally good – tender and fruity – way better than the kind you get in a jar.
When I was a newlywed my husband Eddie and I made an Italian antipasto platter “every” time we entertained. Homemade marinated roasted red peppers were always the centerpiece – surrounded by rolled up slices of Genoa salami or prosciutto de parma, hunks of parmigiana Reggiano, mozzarella balls, pepperoncini, olives and other store-bought delicacies. Over the years we’ve added other appetizer recipes to our repertoire, but an Italian antipasto platter featuring homemade roasted red peppers remains one of our favorites.
I often make a caprese salad with roasted red peppers instead of tomatoes. One of our sons loves roasted red peppers and strongly dislikes tomatoes so he gets the credit for leading me to this delicious salad.
Preheat the oven to broil or the grill to high. If you’re using the oven, set the peppers on rimmed baking sheet – You can line the baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier cleaning. (I didn’t this time, but I should have!)
Set the peppers in the top of the oven, under the broiling element. You want them to get close to the intense heat so the skin will char.
The concept is the same for the grill. Lay them directly on the hot grill racks.
The peppers need five or six minutes per side to get the skins black. Use tongs to give them a quarter turn every five or six minutes. The skin doesn’t have to be completely black. About eighty percent of the pepper should be charred and the red skin should look wrinkled.
Now here’s the trick to getting the skin to come off easily. As soon as the peppers come out of the oven, dump them into a brown paper bag.
Roll up the top of the bag to keep the steam in. I use two bags for extra insulation, one inside the other. Leave them in the bag for fifteen to twenty minutes. I like to put the bag in the sink in case there’s some leakage.
When you take the peppers out, the skin will come off easily.
Peel the peppers. Cut or break them in half. Pull out the stem with all the seeds.
You’ll probably need to use a knife to scrape off some of the seeds and some of the skin. I like the peppers to be completely free of seeds and skin. In case you wondering, those are Eddie’s hands – he’s a roasted red pepper aficionado.
Cut or tear the peppers into strips and place them in a non-reactive bowl or plastic container with a marinade of good quality extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, and salt. (quantities listed below). They keep for up to four days, covered, in the fridge. Let them come to room temp before serving.
Here’s the recipe for roasted red peppers. If you make them please come back to leave a comment and let me know what you think.
- For Roasting The Peppers:
- You will need two paper grocery bags, one inside the other. For oven-roasting you will need a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
- 6 large red bell peppers
- For The Marinade:
- ¼ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 medium garlic clove (or two if you want them extra garlicky)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or fine sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the broiler and set an oven rack near the top of the oven. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Or if using the grill, preheat the grill to high.
- For Oven Roasted Red Peppers: spread the peppers out on the prepared sheet and set them in the oven. Let the skins of the peppers turn black and blister for 20-25 minutes, turning them with tongs every 5 or 6 minutes, until they're 80-85% black.
- For Grill Roasted Red Peppers: Arrange the peppers directly on the hot grill rack. Close the top and let the skins of the peppers turn black and blister, turning them a quarter turn every 5-6 minutes, until the peppers are 80-85% black.
- Transfer the peppers to the paper bag and roll down the top so the peppers can steam. Leave them in the bag for 15-20 minutes.
- Peel off the skin. Pull or cut them in half. Remove the stem and seeds. Use the edge of a knife to scrap off any skin or seeds that are adhering to the peppers.
- Cut or tear the peppers into bite-sized strips.
- For The Marinade: Combine the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Squeeze the garlic in with a garlic press. Whisk the marinade ingredients and pour them over the peppers. Toss to coat. Store the peppers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Let them come to room temperature before serving.