It's hard to imagine a world without roasted peppers, those soft, smoky, flame-charred strips that turn up in antipasti, salads, sauces, soups, and sandwiches. Traditional recipes call for roasting the peppers on the stove or under the broiler, but the easiest way to roast a pepper is to grill it. There are three dishes you can burn in How to Grill and this is one of them. By charring peppers, you actually make them sweeter. Roasted peppers are great to eat drizzled with olive oil or in salads. Purée them with olive oil, garlic, and cayenne to make rouille, a French sauce for fish.
1. To set up a charcoal grill for direct grilling, first light the charcoal in a chimney starter.
2. Using a garden hoe or other long-handled implement, rake the burning coals into an even layer.
3. Preheat the grill to high.
TIP: The traditional way to roast a pepper is to char it so black that you have to remove the skin. This produces superlative peppers with an unrivaled smoky flavor, but it is a little messy and time-consuming to peel them. So sometimes, I'll grill a pepper until the skin is golden brown, not black. I serve the grilled pepper skin and all. Peppers grilled in this fashion make a great no-fuss side dish and have a flavor all their own.
Arrange the peppers on the grate and grill until their skins are nicely charred, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Turn the peppers with tongs to ensure even charring.
1. Place the hot peppers in a baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 20 minutes as they cool down.
2. Pull or scrape the skin off the peppers, using your fingers or a paring knife. Don't worry about removing every last bit. A few burnt specks add character.
3. Cut out the stem end and discard.
4. Cut open the peppers and scrape out the veins and seeds with a knife.
Tips: If you are removing the pepper's charred skin, steam helps loosen it from the flesh. To create steam, place the hot grilled peppers in a baking dish and cover it with plastic wrap or wrap the individual peppers in wet paper towels. Any type of bell pepper can be grilled-green, red, yellow. You can even grill chile peppers. Indeed, this is one way Mexicans roast chiles for making salsas.
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