Roasted Peppers, Delicious Enough to Serve on Their Own

Whether you’re using a grill, the oven or a gas burner, the object of the exercise is to char the pepper’s skin so that it will peel away easily.

The peppers may collapse on themselves and they may ooze, but that’s fine.

When the skin is black and blistered, carefully (they’re hot and the liquid inside of them is even hotter) put the peppers in a bowl and cover them with a plate or put them in a bag and close the bag.  Then, when the peppers are cool enough to handle, use your fingers to peel away the skin. 

Slice the peppers to open them, remove the seeds and cut away the interior spines.  Then make a decision about how large or small you’d like your pepper pieces to be.  I usually cut each pepper into three sections.

If I’m not serving the peppers right away, here’s my favorite thing to do.  I layer the peppers cut-side down in a Pyrex loaf pan.  When I’ve got one layer, I sprinkle the layer with salt (usually fleur de sel), season it with coarsely ground black pepper, strew over some chopped fresh herbs – use what you’ve got, but I think chives, thyme, oregano, parsley and rosemary are great with peppers – maybe some garlic sliced super-thin and perhaps some finely grated lemon zest.  Then I moisten the layer with extra-virgin olive oil.  You can brush the oil on or pour it on.  Keep layering, cover the pan and chill the peppers for a few hours or for as long as a couple of days.

To serve, just lift the peppers out of the pan, arrange them on a platter, spoon over some of the oil and have bread within easy reach – everyone’s going to want to clean the plate.

When the peppers are finished – alas – use the seasoned leftover oil to make a vinaigrette.  For even more flavor, puree a little roasted pepper and use that as the base of your vinaigrette, adding the seasoned oil and using either balsamic or Sherry vinegar.

If you don’t have time to marinate the roasted peppers, just put them on the serving platter, drizzle them with oil and season them with salt, pepper, chopped herbs and, if you’d like, garlic. 

Dorie Greenspan

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