Thursday, September 10, 2009

Roasted Bell Peppers - Indoors!

We have all probably ordered roasted peppers off of a menu at some point in time, but have you wondered how they are cooked? This quick-fire recipe is courtesy of Williams-Sonoma - where I participated in one of its Vegetable Technique Classes in New York (two years ago) and decided to try it over the weekend. All you need are a few simple things -- bell peppers, tongs, paper bag and a stove. Of course, these bell peppers can be cooked over a grill as well, but if you live in NYC, that is rare to come by, so read below on how to make Roasted Bell Peppers Indoors!

While at the market, you can choose from red, green or yellow bell peppers... I find that the yellow are the sweetest (and slightly more expensive than its counterparts), so for this first trial run, I decided to go with the red and green peppers. Choose a reasonable size, not too large, just medium size so it will fit amply over your stove's fire. If you have ample time, it's probably easier to cook one bell pepper at a time, but if you're in a rush or if you're starving like me and my friend, we sped it up by cooking two peppers at once. Our green peppers were a bit too large for the stove and we later had to cook it separately.

The cook time is approximately 5-7 minutes, or until the pepper is adequately charred (remember it will cook some more while in the brown paper bag). As you'll notice in the photos, we charred it all around. It is helpful to use a pair of "tongs" while rotating the peppers. If you don't have tongs, then you can use two spatulas or chopsticks (but be very careful with this option since chopsticks can also char -- i'd recommend soaking the chopsticks in water to prevent any unnecessary burning!)

After you've roasted the peppers to your desired "charred-ness", put them in the paper bag so it can cook some more (or sweat). You'll notice that once you squeeze the pepper, it'll let out some juice -- which is perfectly fine. When you are ready for the meal, take it out of the bag , rub off the charred goodness and slice them up. You'll notice that the seeds are still inside the pepper, which I cut away during the slicing process (I wasn't able to get all of them, but one or two seeds won't hurt you!). Once sliced, season with salt and pepper to your taste ... And walla, you now have roasted bell peppers!

These vegetables are nicely paired with any type of meat, poultry or fish. I had it with fresh fish that was cooked in the oven. See my next blog posting on Whole Fish Baking!

Side Cooking Notes:
-- Make sure your stove environment is free and clear of anything flammable while charring
-- Black flakes may rise up during the charring process so it could potentially create a slight mess to clean up afterwards
-- If you don't have a vent on your stove, or a window in your kitchen, make sure that your other windows in the house is open so that the fire detector doesn't go off; since you're charring something, there will be a slight "burning" smell.

All photos taken with my Canon SD880 IS (still waiting for my Nikon to be returned)

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