HOW TO:ROASTED RED PEPPERS
Sweet. Savory. Juicy. I can’t think of a more perfect celebration of the summer harvest than homemade roasted red pepper salad. When I was a kid my Mother used to make bowl after bowl of this simply perfect side dish throughout the months of August and September. My family and I always loved it, and always devoured every last bite.
So comfortable was I with the process of making homemade roasted red peppers that it wasn’t until my early twenties that I tried the jarred variety. Yuck! They were bitter, slimy, and lacked all of the wonderful sweet and savory flavors that I was accustomed to. To this day I have never bought another jar of roasted red peppers and I cringe every time I’m served strips of them a top a salad or in a sandwich when I’m dining out. For me, homemade roasted red peppers are without a doubt worth the extra effort every time. The truth is, they’re super easy to make, and they can be very inexpensive if you catch a good deal on peppers at the peak of the season.
Here are my simple step-by-step instructions for making homemade roasted red peppers. I have also included a quick recipe for a modified version of the red pepper salad I loved so very much as a child.
STEP ONE: Place whole red bell peppers on a gas grill preheated to its highest setting. (I’m sure a charcoal grill would work perfectly also.)
STEP TWO: Turn and rotate the peppers until they are black, charred and blistered on all sides. Surprisingly, they are done when they look totally ruined.
STEP THREE: Transfer the peppers to a glass bowl and immediately cover the bowl with plastic wrap to trap in all of the steam. Allow the peppers to come to room temperature (approx 1 hour).
STEP FOUR: Using your hands, remove the skin, seeds, and stems from the peppers. The charred skins will easily slide right off with very little effort. Slice the flesh into one inch strips. Add salt and enjoy as is, or use them in your favorite recipe.
MY ROASTED RED PEPPER SALAD
¼ cup balsamic vinegar (I often use white balsamic)
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
½ red onion, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
4 ears of fresh corn on the cob, husk removed
6 roasted red peppers, sliced into bite sized strips
In a medium bowl mix together the vinegar, oil, onion, avocado and salt. Allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, grill the corn on all sides until the kernels just begin to brown. Remove the corn from the grill and carefully slice off all the kernels.
Add the grilled corn kernels and roasted red peppers to the avocado mixture and toss to coat. Season with additional salt and vinegar to taste. This salad is most delicious when enjoyed immediately, but also keeps nicely for lunch the next day.