Roasting peppers not only cooks the pepper, but also gives it a nice smoky flavor and allows you to remove the skin. This authentic method is perfect for anything that calls for roasted peppers or chiles.
Makes 2 roasted peppers
2 large peppers, such as red, yellow or orange bell peppers, or large Mexican chiles such as Poblano, Anaheim or Hatch (sweet or spicy - same approach!)
In each method, a direct flame is used to blacken and loosen the skin while simultaneously cooking the chile pepper itself. Once the skin is removed, the pepper can be prepared in whatever way is needed for the dish.
First, blacken the skin:
1. Set up your grill for direct heat, with a strong fire (or turn your gas grill on to high). Place chile peppers directly on the grill grate, over the highest flame. Ideally, the flame will be strong and close enough to nearly touch the chiles.
2. Turn the peppers as needed to produce blackened splotches all over the skin. As this happens, you will notice the skin will puff and loosen a bit around the flesh, and the pepper will begin to soften. Try not to tear the skin as you work; you don't want the flesh inside to burn.
Gas Stovetop Method
1. Place each pepper directly on a burner (not in any kind of pan), and turn the burners on to medium-high. Adjust the heat as needed so that the flames just lick the bottom of each chile. This will be a different heat level on every stove, so watch your peppers and make adjustments as needed.
2. Use tongs to turn the chiles as needed to produce blackened splotches all over the skin. As this happens, you will notice the skin will puff and loosen a bit around the flesh, and the pepper will begin to soften. Try not to tear the skin as you work; you don't want the flesh inside to burn.
1. Preheat the broiler to high, with a rack set close to the flame. Set up a sheet pan with a flat rack, and put the chiles on the rack. Slide the sheet pan under the broiler so that the chiles are about 2 inches from the flame.
2. Watch closely, turning the chiles as often as needed to produce blackened splotches all over the skin. As this happens, you will notice the skin will puff and loosen a bit around the flesh, and the pepper will begin to soften. Try not to tear the skin as you work; you don't want the flesh inside to burn.
Then, sweat the peppers and remove the skin
3. Place the blackened peppers in a paper bag to "sweat" and rest awhile (about 15 minutes or so is sufficient, but the chiles won't be harmed by a longer stay). This makes it easier to remove the skin.
A paper bag works perfectly, because the peppers can sweat and breathe at the same time.
4. Remove the peppers from the bag and use your fingers to peel the blackened skin off the chile. It's often easiest to work over a sink with a very thin stream of cold water running. As you peel off the skin, use the water to quickly rinse it off your hands before peeling off more skin. Don't put the chile/pepper itself in the water - this would wash away much of the flavor.
5. Once the skin is removed, transfer the chiles to a cutting board to prepare as needed. In many cases, you'll partially or completely remove the stem end first. Note that most of the seeds are attached to the stem. You may want to be careful to keep this intact as you work to make it easier to remove most of the seeds all at once.
Finally, slice and dice as needed
If a recipe calls for sliced or diced roasted chiles or peppers, prepare it like this:
First - Completely remove the stem end with most of the seeds, then "butterfly" the pepper, making one slit along the side to open it up and lay it flat.
Next - Use the flat back of your knife (not the sharp edge) to scrape away any remaining seeds.
Then - Use the sharp edge of your knife to cut away the ribs.
To cut the chile into strips - Use your knife to cut the opened, flat chile into lengthwise strips.
To dice the roasted chile - Cut the strips crosswise into small squares.