Saturday, September 3, 2011

Labor Day Appetizer: Roasted Red Peppers

Here's a great idea if you a.) are looking for a way to use up sweet red or red bell peppers from your garden or Produce Box or b.) need something different to serve at your Labor Day party this weekend. The idea comes from the September issue of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food. It's so simple though that I'm not even going to post a recipe. All you need are a few tips. Trust me. You can do this.

1.) Move the top rack on your oven as high as it will go. Preheat the oven on broil at 500'.
2.) Rub a little canola oil on the peppers. Arrange them whole on a baking sheet. This works best with red bell peppers but these (...ah, anyone know what these are?) worked too.
3.) Roast the peppers until blackened, turning to cook all sides evenly. Salad tongs make this job much easier. I've also roasted peppers over the flame on my gas stove top and on the grill. Grilling or broiling works better for peppers this size. The broil method takes around 10-15 minutes. The skin will be slightly charred, bubbly and start separating from the flesh. Peppers will be tender and collapse slightly.
4.) Place the peppers in a bowl right from the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit and steam in the bowl for 15 to 20 minutes.
5.) Take the peppers out of the bowl and rub off as much of the thin sheets of skin as you can.
6.) Chop off the stem and slit the pepper down one side. Use a knife to scrape the membranes and seeds from the inside and chop the flesh into large strips.
7.) Arrange the peppers on a plate. Drizzle with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You can serve them just like that or sprinkle with feta cheese, capers, chopped olives and/or fresh herbs. I served the platter above with storebought grilled flatbread and roasted red pepper hummus.You can make these hours ahead of time and have them waiting in the fridge, although I think I'd like these best slightly warmed or room temperature.

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