It’s November and I’m writing about roasted peppers. Why, you might ask. Well, it’s been a very pleasant autumn so far in my part of the world, unseasonably sunny and warm, which prolonged the growing season of vegetables that usually don’t pull through that late in the year. Peppers are therefore still present in the farmers’ market. Last but not least, they’re one of my favourite foods.
It’s easy to roast them at home in the oven but there is one strong rule to follow in order to achieve perfectly roasted peppers. Roasting them properly does take some time. You can certainly char them black in a matter of minutes over open fire but that’s what you get in the end: peppers with charred skin and semi-cooked flesh.
Instead, I’m after silken flesh of roasted peppers with an unquestionably deep flavour of roasting.
I usually roast the long red ones but any variety will do. I pick the heavy ones since I believe there’s more flesh in them than in the lighter ones. While they roast away in the oven, I have time to prepare other dishes, or do something different. Even if you just pour yourself a glass of wine to indulge in during the wait, that sounds perfectly fine to me.
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Wash and dry the peppers, place them in the roasting dish. (I line it with baking paper to minimise the cleaning afterwards but it’s up to you.)
Roast for an hour (if you find yourself too impatient because the fantastic smell of roasting peppers increases your hunger, you can take them out after 45-50 minutes).
Remove from the oven, place into a bowl and cover with cling film. Leave for approximately 10 minutes after which they’ll be easy to skin and deseed.
The simplest meal suggestion: Serve on their own with some salt, pepper, a glug of olive oil (now it’s the time to get your hands on the freshest one from this year’s harvest) and chopped parsley. (Many people like adding minced garlic to roasted peppers but I dislike raw garlic.) Add some feta and a piece of bread and you’re hunger is beaten.
Another simple dish suggestion: Use in any tomato based pasta dish to lift it to another level.
Whatever you do with roasted peppers, even if you just add them to a humble sandwich or blend them into a soup, enjoy! Bon appetit!