roasting red peppers


Two years ago—the first year I roasted peppers—we made a great discovery. We bought a few cases, maybe five cases of peppers from a local farmer who sells imperfect peppers cheaply. These, he said, were a little on the ripe side. He left them at the house of a mutual friend, and we would pick them up. The first day, I’m fairly sure there was a first day, something happened and we didn’t make it. The second day, we went and the friend wasn’t home, and as it wasn’t that close a friend, to go trawling through her house, we left. On the third day (I think it was), we retrieved those peppers. On the ripe side.

Getting them home, we started to process them. There were a lot of rotten parts we had to cut out, and we cut out the stems and the seeds as well. We finished about half of them, and it got late, and we got tired. The next day (it may have been the next day) we started again. A lot of the peppers we’d processed the day before had new rot on them, and we had to cut at them again. We began to roast them on a shallow-troughed grill, one that proved inadequate, as the coals burned down too fast. Didn’t finish that day, either.

The point of all this, what I’m getting at, is that these peppers, ripe past rottenness, roasted under the broiler and then their skins steamed loose in a closed stock-pot, were a lot of work, I thought, too much work. Then, hands to the elbows covered in sticky, thick, black-flecked slime, from rubbing off the blistered skins, bitching about how few roasted red peppers one couple really needs in a year, I happened to lick one of my fingers.

The way I have described it, to incredulous listeners, is better than ripe strawberries in season. I am not a roasted red pepper lover: they are too expensive, and, whatever. And yet.

Make these. Make them over-ripe. Roasting peppers is a ridiculous amount of work, so it’s not worth doing if you don’t do it right. Once they are steamed and the skins rubbed off, put them with their juices in mason jars and cover them with olive oil. They keep pretty well in the refrigerator this way, and they freeze fine, too.

The Herbwife gave her account of this event, slightly more timely, here.

One Comment on “roasting red peppers”

  1. Caitlin Adair says:

    Will, I love your writing. You are a wondrful story teller. I can nearly taste the sweetness.

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