Sunday, September 27, 2009

"How To" Make Oven Roasted Peppers

I have received a lot of nice and encouraging notes about my food blog and they are greatly appreciated! Most people seem to take the RSS feeds and don't post their comments directly on the blog. Regardless, thank YOU very much!

Ontario red peppers are in season. If you don't know how to roast peppers try this simple oven method. If you already know how to make them and have a great technique this can be a reminder! It would be nice too if you would post your technique in the comments. I use the roasted peppers as a healthy and flavourful addition to salsa, sauces, sandwiches, salads etc.

Conventional agriculture focuses more on peppers that look nice and ship well. Organic peppers avoid agricultural chemicals and peppers are on the "dirty dozen" list published by the Environmental Working Group. Follow this link to see the 12 most important vegetables and fruits to buy organic if you want to reduce your pesticide intake.

I bought some jar roasted peppers (Romania) at the store and they also contained water, sugar, salt and vinegar. The vinegar is added to acidify the peppers and acts as a preservative but unfortunately it also changes the flavour. They will do in a pinch but they pale in comparison to the home-roasted peppers.

I wasn't fortunate enough to have my own red peppers this year. They were moving along nicely then we had that cold weather in July and the blossoms fell off. They didn't catch up... I did get some of my own cayenne and jalapeno peppers and also a few green peppers. The beautiful red pepper shown here was in my friend's garden in Noelville.

8 sweet red peppers - I used the Shepherd variety as they are more economical
1 Tbsp organic XV olive oil or more

1. Wash peppers under cold running water. Cut each one in half and use your hands (clean ones!) to remove the seeds and pith. Use your hands and coat each pepper lightly with olive oil inside and out. Place in a baking dish and roast in the oven at 450 F° for about 30-45 minutes or until the skin turns black. Oven temps vary and I have gas/propane and find my oven is on the slow side. You can roast them whole if you wish and remove innards later.
2. Take the peppers out of the oven and place them in a paper bag for about 20 minutes to allow the steam to loosen the skin. Use your hands to peel back the skin, stem, and seeds. You can cut them into strips or squares as you wish! The skins are on the top and the roasted pepper on the bottom in this photo.

3. Store in the refrigerator. If you won't be eating them in the next week you should add more olive oil and freeze them in an airtight container or freezer bag. You can also puree them with olive oil and freeze the pepper puree. Be creative but practice food safety!

This recipe also works great with jalapeno or banana peppers.
When I make them on the barbecue (grill for southern readers) I grind some fresh garlic with herbs and olive oil in the mortar and pestle and add a tablespoon or so of the fresh pesto into each cavity during roasting. I don't peel off the skin before eating.

Red bell peppers are fully ripened green peppers. They have thicker walls and are much sweeter. They are also more nutritious with 158% more vitamin C and 30% more vitamin A than green bell peppers.

© Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc
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