Roasting Peppers

One of the great things about fall (and didn't it turn to fall weather overnight?!) is the abundance of red, yellow and orange peppers. Peppers are simple to roast, and freeze perhaps better than any vegetable I know of. I always freeze several packages of each type for the winter and use them in a wide variety of dishes.
To roast peppers, cut the sides of the peppers off into flat pieces and lay skin down on a grill over high heat. Close the lid and let them grill until the skin is nearly all the way charred black. Some peppers will be blackened before others, so pull them off and put them into a bowl or large plastic bag as they turn black.
Once all of the peppers are charred, cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or seal the plastic bag) and let them steam until they are cool enough to handle. Once cooled, the blackened skin can be easily removed and discarded.
I like to store my peppers in small freezer plastic bags - make sure to label the bag with the contents and the date. Press them flat so that once they freeze they are easy to stack.

There are many ways to use roasted peppers in everyday cooking:

Add them to salads, scrambled eggs or omelets, pasta dishes, and casseroles

Puree with tomatoes for a twist on a traditional marinara sauce

Chop and add onion, capers, garlic and basil for a roasted red pepper crostini topping

Here's one of my favorite soup recipes:

Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Serves 8

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 red bell peppers, roasted and peeled
3 cups chicken stock
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 tablespoon lime zest

Heat a medium saucepan over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and fennel and cook over medium until slightly soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Roughly chop the red peppers and add along with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and puree using an immersion blender. Alternatively, puree in a traditional blender working in batches after the soup has cooled slightly. Mix lime zest with creme fraiche. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with a few pieces of avocado and a dollop of the creme fraiche.

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