Sunday, February 17, 2008

Roasted Red Peppers

Last November ended as a snowy and icy mess, but first we had two weeks of fine warm weather, with frost scares at night. My two varieties of bell pepper, Crispy and Karma, continued to grow long after I had already removed most of the still-green peppers to give away to friends. They were even making new little peppers. I kept the partly red peppers on the plants and used a makeshift barrier of old row cover and burlap around the pepper patch to ward off frost.

The result was truly an embarrassment of riches. I even had to give red peppers away. But this was only after many, many batches of roasted red peppers were resting in my freezer. Next year maybe I'll try to use some of those special recipes I collected, like the Serbian red pepper and eggplant preparation. I only managed to roast, peel, and freeze the peppers under press of everything else.

Actually, though they are called "roasted", I think most people do as I do and broil them. I arrange cleaned seeded pieces as flatly as possible on a cookie sheet, and put them up under the broiler element until the outer skin turns black. Too long, and the flesh dries out. The really thick-walled peppers (Karma is very good) are best because the flesh stays moist and full even when the skin is fully blackened. Then the blackened skin is removed and crumbs brushed off. When the peppers sit in a pile on a plate during processing, a liquid collects that is saved to add to recipes, and also keeps the peppers moist while refrigerated. For freezing, I simply weighed out quarter-pound and half-pound portions and placed them into plastic containers or freezer bags. They are so delicious. I'm amazed at their quality after thawing. Especially because we had that little mishap with the freezer door being left open and then having to refreeze most of the peppers.

I've been finding lots of ways to use them. Of course, they are an essential element in my personal spaghetti sauce recipe and go right onto pizza. The larger portions are for making a roasted red pepper sauce with tomato, basil, onions, and garlic (the last two ingredients are saute├ęd in olive oil, then all blended together). I chop the peppers and incorporate them into meatloaf. They also go into any kind of egg dish, can be added to gratins and scalloped potatoes, and today I just chopped some and threw them into a casserole of chili mac. Um!

1 comment:

Buttercup said...

This post was in 2007. Yesterday, October 9, 2008, I took out all the peppers. They were showing distress from the cold snaps and possibly a leaf spotting organism and had not been producing new fruit. I processed over 6 pounds of roasted red peppers and then had a huge bag of partially ripened peppers to give away.