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Roasted Bell Peppers

I love roasting bell peppers in the summertime, because the markets are filled to the brim with them.  A lot of people simply char their peppers over an open flame and then remove the peels.  This is perfectly fine if all you need is one or two peppers, but have you ever tried roasting several of them in the oven?  I find it so much easier to make big trays of these capsicums, because I don't have to fuss & watch over them.  My oven does all the work while I do something else; this is especially helpful if you have an electric range vs. a gas range.  At our house we enjoy eating red bell peppers because they are the sweetest & most delectable, but you can just as well use orange, yellow or even the spicier poblano peppers.  These vegetables are a good source of folate, dietary fiber, Vitamins A, C, B6 & magnesium.  Roasted bell peppers are not only good for you, they're also quite delicious on so many things like pastas and toppings for crostini.  I even like pureeing them into plain hummus for some added zip.  Run out to your local market & buy several bell peppers, because now that summer is here and these vegetables are inexpensive, you're going to want to roast some at home.

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Simply halve & seed your bell peppers. Place them cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat.  Bake for 30 minutes, rotating your sheets halfway through.  You want the skins to blister.

The roasted peppers.  Carefully transfer them, while still piping hot, into a heatproof bowl.

Cover your bowl with a piece of plastic wrap & let the peppers sit for 15 minutes.  This glass tempered bowl is part of my Mise en Place.

See them sweating?  After 15 minutes, remove the plastic wrap & begin peeling them.  The skins should easily come off.  Don't rinse them under water because you end up losing so much of the flavor. 

Note: The peppers may still be quite warm.

Transfer your strips & pieces of bell peppers into a glass refrigerator dish with a lid.  These will keep for about a week or so.  Delicious!

How easy was that?  I know you're all thinking that jarred bell peppers are more convenient & readily available at the local supermarket (admittedly, I keep a jar of these in my pantry at all times), but you really need to give these a try.  Don't be surprised if you get hooked on them.  I've been known to use them in rice pilafs, sandwiches and as burger toppers, but perhaps my favorite way to eat them is in pastas.  I saute some garlic in the best extra virgin olive oil until tender, add some strips of roasted bell peppers until just heated through, and toss this with just-cooked al dente linguine.  Sprinkle this dish with some minced parsley and pass the freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano (my preference).  Utterly delicious.  Enjoy!


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