Make Your Own Roasted Red Peppers

I don't know about you, but I love roasted red peppers. Really, I love roasted any vegetable. Never mind what cooking anything in a 400+ degree oven for 20 minutes minimum does to all of those good little nutritious parts of the vegetable (certainly it's more innocuous than some good old fashioned frying). Roasting just brings out the flavor of a vegetable more than, I think, any other cooking method.

The only problem is that those jarred roasted red peppers? Those are all well and good - if you've never had a homemade roasted red pepper. Once you try the real thing, those jars of "peppers" are little more than salty, soggy pepper remnants. Real roasted peppers are soft but not soggy, and the flavor comes from more than the brine they're soaked in. Plus, they're as cheap as the cheapest bell pepper you can get your hands on.

I got "directions" for roasting my first peppers from a blog called Closet Cooking. I've only ever made one thing from the blog before (which mysteriously has not made its way on here yet), but I've bookmarked enough recipes to make something new each day all year. He makes the most interesting, exotic, decadent foods out of probably any of the bloggers I follow. He also makes all of his own...well, everything - sauces, spreads, dips, sun dried tomatoes, roasted peppers. Seriously, he's a kitchen diy master, and so it only seemed right to go to his post on roasted peppers for my first attempt. Of course, I ran into some...issues...and so I kind of just wound up winging it. But I'd imagine that anyone with a normal kitchen and a fairly normal head on their shoulders would find much success with this set of instructions.

Roasting Red (or any color) Peppers, courtesy of Closet Cooking
The Method
1. Halve all of the peppers you'd like to roast, and remove the stem, seeds, and membranes.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees, on broil.
3. Place the peppers on a baking sheet, cut side down. I did this without greasing or lining the sheet, and I still have faint pepper outlines on my very nice, new sheets. So I would suggest doing something, or using a baking sheet you just don't care about. It's only an issue if you're slightly, shall we say, anal hyphen compulsive, as I am, and like things to look pretty to the utmost degree.
4. Broil the peppers for 7-10 minutes, or until the skins have blackened.
5. Transfer the peppers to a large, zip-lock bag and seal it, allowing the peppers to cool for around 20 minutes, in order to handle them more easily.
6. Remove the skins once they're cool enough to work with; apparently, a pinching motion works well.

My first problem was that, at the time, I didn't have a baking sheet small enough to fit in my broiler (I don't have a "broiler" setting on my lovely oven, just a little compartment below the oven centimeters from the even lovelier floor), so I roast-roasted them, in the oven, on 450 degrees. Which, at the time, was probably more like 475 because I don't think I had yet realized that my oven is 25 degrees higher than what you set it on. This meant that it took much longer than 7-10 minutes, but the good news is that I can officially say to you that you can do this without a broiler. Just be patient with it, and check in on the peppers for the status of their skin blistering.

Also, I don't know if your oven does this, but mine "pops." As in, the entire tray you're using to bake on just....jumps. It knocks my little thermometer off onto the floor of the oven, my tray is suddenly all askew, and it without fail gives me a near heart attack every time I hear it.

My second problem was once they were all done, I picked them up with tongs, had my little zip-lock baggie in my left hand, and placed them in. And then I looked down and realized that my pepper was back on the baking sheet where I picked it up from. Confused, I lifted up my left arm, only to realize that yes, I had brushed the bag against the sheet, and had burned my bag in half. I had melted plastic baggie on my stove top, on the baking sheet...everywhere except in full bag form. So, I nixed the whole "place in bag and rest" thing, and just used my tongs to pull off the skin without cooling.

It still worked.

Also, if you find yourself in a similar melted baggage situation, just let the plastic cool and then it will peel right off of whatever unfortunate baking supply victim you subjected it to. No need to cry over spilled plastic. The peppers are still dee-lish at the end, just make sure you didn't get melted plastic on those. You might not be able to salvage that victim, and I don't know how much your guests, family members, friends, or your own digestive system would appreciate your take on the recipe.

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