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Roasted red peppers are considered by many to be a luxury item on their grocery list. This is probably because a small jar of roasted red peppers can cost up to $5 at some stores. However, if you can find red bell peppers at a reasonable price (at my local grocery store, they currently cost $1.99/lb, equaling about 90 cents a pepper) it is worth it to roast your own.
Why bother? Besides being cost effective (especially if you are making something that requires a lot of peppers), roasted red peppers taste a lot different when done by hand. As long as you don't rinse them when they're done, they will keep their flavor for a long time. If you plan to do a batch of them to keep for a while, you can pack them in some olive oil in a clean glass jar. When the peppers are gone, the oil will be flavored and it can be used in cooking or in any recipe that calls for olive oil, such as a pasta dish that might benefit from that extra flavor.
Roasted red peppers can be used in a green salad- one of my favorite bistros offers a salad with feta cheese, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, and greens topped with a Greek style vinaigrette dressing. They can also be an amazing topper on a pizza (like my Mini Pizzas) or can stand alone in a dish highlighting their flavor. In the next few weeks I hope to post a recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Soup, which is great as an appetizer or paired with grilled cheese.
What You'll Need
- red bell peppers, washed clean and stickers removed
- large cutting board
- kitchen knife
- non-stick cookie sheet
- large bowl
- plastic/Saran wrap
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut peppers in half the long way. Remove stem and all seeds.
- Place pepper halves on cookie sheet, cut side down.
- Roast in oven for 20-30 minutes, more if needed. Remove when skin has blackened and is blistered all over.
- Immediately place peppers in large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Wait 15-20 minutes so steam can loosen pepper skins.
- Peel skins from peppers. Peppers can then be sliced for immediate use, or packed in a clean glass jar and topped with oil to store in refrigerator.
The skins leave a bitter taste, so try to remove as much of them as you can. However, if they don't peel easily, you can try placing them back in the bowl, covering it, and letting the steam work its magic for a few more minutes.
Roasted Red Pepper Soup