Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Roasted Peppers in Olive Oil

Roasted peppers, what can I say about roasted peppers. They're sweet, slimy (in a good way), slightly smoky - hey, we're alliterating with 's' adjectives. You can throw them on a sandwich, puree them and add to a soup or hummus, top a salad, serve as a side dish, sprinkle onto a pizza; it's such a versatile and flavorful ingredient. You can certainly buy amazing roasted peppers from the store but they're so easy to make, why not do it yourself? When peppers go on sale, which happens all the time in my neighborhood, it can be so much more economical to make roasted peppers than it is to buy them already made.

I've only ever seen roasted red peppers for sale, which makes sense. The reason you never see roasted green peppers is because green peppers are ones that are picked before they're fully ripened. So they've got a "grassier" and greener flavor (and that's why I prefer my green peppers raw). As it ripens, the pepper starts to turn yellow, orange, and finally it becomes red, which is when it's at its sweetest. I used red, orange, and yellow baby bell peppers because I think the variety in color is nice. I love the baby bells because they're sweeter and have fewer seeds. Plus, they're easier to peel since they're tapered and don't have any of those awkward bumpy bottoms that normal sized bell peppers have.
Ingredients:
8 to 10 baby bell peppers (or 4 regular sized bell peppers)
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon oregano
+ wide mouth half pint mason jar
The easiest way to roast peppers (in my opinion) is to stick them right on top of an open flame. You'll want to turn them occasionally to get them to cook evenly and get the skin good and charred. If you don't have a gas range, you can put the peppers on a baking sheet and stick them in the broiler for a few minutes, turning occasionally and letting the skin get good and charred. Another alternative is to use the grill but it might not necessarily be worthwhile if all you're doing is the peppers. If you've got a rack of ribs ready to go on after the peppers, then I would say yes, go for it.

Once the peppers are looking blistered and beautiful, stick them in a bowl and seal it up in plastic wrap and leave them to sit for about 15 minutes. The plastic wrap will seal in the heat and allow the peppers to steam themselves. This will allow them to get tender and also make it easier to peel the skin off.
After 15 minutes have passed, remove the peppers from their cozy sauna, peel off all of the skin, slice them open and pull out the seeds, and put them right in a jar.
Don't worry if a few seeds make it into the jar. I think they add to the homemade-ness.
Add the garlic and oil to a little pan and warm up over a low heat. Once the garlic starts to sizzle, remove from the heat and let the oil cool slightly.
Pour the garlic cloves and olive oil into the jar right over the peppers and sprinkle in the oregano and give it a quick stir to evenly distribute the ingredients.
Keep the peppers refrigerated. Just a word of warning, extra virgin olive oil solidifies at fridge-cold temperatures so you'll want to thaw these for an hour or two before you use them. If you're in a hurry, you can run them under some warm water in the sink. And then it's up to you how you use them. Maybe you're putting together an antipasto platter or you're making a roasted salsa. These would also make a great little hostess gift.

And a little tip, the leftover olive oil is great for drizzling over toasted bread.
Here's the recipe page:

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