Sure, roasted bell peppers are available in a jar - but they'll never taste so fresh as when you roast them at home, and this process is surprisingly easy. Besides, although every grocery store sells bottled red bell peppers, it's harder to find yellow, orange, or green varieties. Roasting at home allows you to play around with color combinations for the most visually striking recipes. So use any color bell pepper you like, or a mixture.
- 4 bell peppers (about 2 pounds)
2. Broil until thoroughly blackened; although in a hurry I have broiled for as little as 10 to 15 minutes, giving the peppers a full 20 minutes will result in wonderfully sweet, deeply-roasted flavor.
3. Transfer the pepper halves immediately to a zip-top plastic bag and seal. This step is the key, since the steam that builds up in the bag will help the skins slide right off. Let stand for 20 minutes. Remove from the bag.
If serving plain, either serve the halves whole (great in sandwiches) or chop up to toss in a salad, or cut into strips. The peppers are excellent paired with other antipasto noshes like artichoke hearts, vegan deli salami (try Yves Veggie), bread, and olives:
4 servings (1 pepper), Calories 44
As stated in my intro, this is such an easy staple to make at home, it seems a pity and a waste to buy a jar from the store. The homemade roasted peppers had a much fresher, firmer texture than their store-bought cousins (bottled ones often seem limp), and 20 minutes under the broiler yielded skins that slipped off perfectly and a sweet, mellow taste. I find the orange, red, and yellow to be nearly identical in flavor (kudos to you if you can distinguish these three in a blind taste test) but the roasted green peppers have a slightly more vegetal, grassy flavor. The '2' below is merely because bell peppers are, well, a touch plain on their own, but stay tuned for recipes using these goodies soon.