Roasting peppers was always one of those tasks I tried to avoid. It was such a hassle to stand over the stove, turning and turning each pepper over the flame until it was finally charred. And the peeling, coring, and seeding? No, thank you.
And then a few years ago I came upon this great tip and now rarely even use jarred peppers. Nothing beats the bright, fresh flavors of the homemade variety, and this makes it so easy!
Here’s what you do:
Pre-heat your broiler, and place the rack on the highest notch. Trim, core and seed your peppers, and cut each into four pieces. Lay each piece flat, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under the broiler, and broil until well charred and almost completely black (watch carefully once the peppers begin to color).
Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and place the peppers in a bowl, covered tightly with plastic wrap. The idea is to create steam, which will loosen the skins. After 10 minutes, remove the peppers and peel — you probably won’t even need a knife as the skins should just slip right off. At this point, you can use the peppers in your recipe or store for future use. Place them in a jar, cover with olive oil, and keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. Or you can freeze them in a Ziploc bag.
There are SO many ways to use roasted peppers — in hummus, dips and salsa. On crostini, chicken or pasta. And they star in one of my favorite new dishes: this fall panzanella.
I used to think of panzanella — or bread salad — as a “summer-only” dish because it typically contains fresh, ripe tomatoes. But this version is perfect for fall, featuring slightly spicy sopressata, fresh mozzarella and, of course, our beautiful roasted peppers!
Roasted Pepper Panzanella
from Bon Appetit
5-6 6 bell peppers, roasted as above and cut into thin strips
6 T. olive oil, divided
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 T. red wine vinegar
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
2 T. fresh oregano leaves, divided
6 c. 1″ bread cubes
2 oz. thinly sliced soppressata, or other spicy salami
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed
Reduce oven temperature to 400.
Toss peppers in a clean, large bowl with onion, garlic, vinegar, red pepper flakes, 1 T. oregano, and 4 T. oil; set aside.
Toss bread and 2 T. oil on a parchment-lined baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Bake, tossing occasionally, until crisp on the outside but still chewy in the center, for about 12 minutes. Let croutons cool (can be made 1 day ahead — store in an airtight container at room temperature).
Toss pepper mixture, salumi, and croutons in a large bowl. Add cheese and gently combine. Arrange on a platter or in a serving bowl; top with remaining 1 T. oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to one hour, to allow flavors to develop and croutons to soften slightly.