When you Google “bell peppers,” the first thing that pops up after their Wikipedia page is a link to The World’s Healthiest Foods.
I love that. Bell peppers, to me, are so southern, so summer, so nostalgic AND so healthful! My grandmother made pepper jelly in the warm weather, that would come out in all of its green and red gloriousness around the holidays. I’ve got a recipe for her jelly, and a fun treat I like to call Pepper Jelly Coins in the “Sips and Bites” section of the cookbook!
One of my favorite stories about red bell peppers, though, is one my mom tells. She and my dad lived in the Philippines when they were first married, and she would be a young wife on a tight budget, faced with entertaining her husband’s work colleagues. Roasted peppers became a go-to for her—they’re beautiful, inexpensive, delicious, and can be made way in advance then served cold! All necessary traits for a cheap dish.
I’M AN IMPATIANT GIRL
—so I never used to gravitate toward this dish. I used to burn them all the time, and still manage to undercook the insides.
There is an art to pepper roasting. It goes something like this:
Check the peppers to see if they’re blistering. And wait.
When the peppers begin to blister, turn them. And wait.
When the peppers begin to blister on their new side, turn them. And wait.
See where I’m going with this?
Then, when they’re all lovely and blistered on each side, you pop them into brown paper bags to steam themselves. And wait.
They are kind of cute sitting there all in row though, aren’t they?
A FAMILY AFFAIR
The thing about the peppers, and all the waiting, is that for all you’ve got to check in on them, there’s not a whole lot else they ask of you.
This means that if you’ve got someone you love hanging out with you, or tunes you love and some dance moves, then making the peppers becomes this wonderful kitchen hangout experience.
My mom and I spent my pepper making time this Sunday shaking it to Aretha and Solange and Mary J. Not so bad, if you ask me
DO RIGHT, ALL DAY….PEPPER
Once you’ve let them sit for about half an hour, you take them out and make sure they’ve collapsed. They should look something like this:
Then, you peel them.
This is the other part I used to mess up, not letting them steam long enough. But the skin should really come right off if you’ve given them the right amount of time. If the skin is being hard-headed and oppositional, then its time to add another conversation topic, or put on another track. Then, off it comes!
I hope this helps any of you out there wanting to roast peppers for summer afternoon snack! Click here for the full recipe for marinated roasted bell peppers!