What do you do when you have an abundance of peppers and the grill is heating up for burgers?
You roast the peppers, of course.
Rub them with oil and put them right on the grill on high heat. (Some suggest not using olive oil because of its high burn potential, but that's precisely the reason I use it! The idea, after all, is to CHAR the peppers.)
When they are good and dark on all sides, I move them to the upper rack of the grill while I cook the rest of the meal.
Take them off and put them in a dish, covered tightly with plastic wrap. This will cause the skins to shrivel even more and make peeling these babies a snap. It also creates a wonderful juice.
After the peppers have cooled –at least enough to handle—the skins will come off just by pinching and pulling. You can also remove the stem, cut the pepper so that it lays flat, then scrape the skin off with the back of a knife. I don't prefer that method, but it's your kitchen so you can do what you like, right?
After I pull the skin off, I remove the stems and seeds and cut the peppers into strips, put them into a freezer container and pour the juice that remains in the dish over them.
They are now ready either to freeze or to keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. This container holds a pint and there are four peppers cut into strips. If you are going to freeze them, it is not a bad idea to leave the charred skin on and freeze each pepper separately. Place them on waxed paper on a cookie sheet to freeze, then move into separate freezer bags for long term. If you cut them into strips first, use smaller containers to freeze them in so that you don't have to thaw all four peppers at once. You could also chop them and freeze them in an ice cube tray in order to only use a very small portion at a time. What a wonderful way to have 'fresh' roasted peppers all winter!
Covering the strips with their own juice is great protection and preservation for them. You can also cover the strips with olive oil, however, I don't recommend storing them in vinegar of any kind. Balsamic vinegar is a fantastic complement to roasted peppers, but it's best to add the vinegar to the dish at the time of serving rather than for storing the peppers in it for a long period of time.
I love a fresh roasted red pepper with feta cheese in it. Add a salad and call it a fabulously light, summer supper … and call me happy! Roasted red peppers are also ideal on pizza and on sandwiches (splashed with balsamic vinegar). They can also add a new dimension to tomato sauce for pasta … just lovely.
And yes, I love them on a burger, too … cut into fourths, then layered over blue cheese and sautéed mushrooms. Now that's what I'm calling a gourmet burger!
What are your favorite ways to enjoy roasted red peppers?