Chile Peppers. Those tiny,
innocent-looking red and green peppers can add so much flavor to a dish.
But raw they can be harsh and overwhelming, particularly when mixed with
other raw fresh foods. Roasting chiles subdues the heat and produces a
musty, smoky flavor. What follows is a master recipe for roasting all
types of chile peppers - from fresh jalapeno and serranos to habaneros
Always use chiles that are firm, smooth,
and without wrinkles. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place the chile
peppers on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Make a tiny slit in
the side of each pepper to prevent it from bursting. Place the baking
sheet on the top shelf of the oven and roast the peppers, shaking the
baking sheet every few minutes to make sure they blacken on all sides,
for 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness and variety of the pepper.
Wrap the peppers in the aluminum foil to "sweat" - which makes the skin
easy to remove - for 5-10 minutes.
Put on rubber gloves before removing the
skin and seeds from the peppers. You need to be very careful when
handling chile peppers; the seeds are extraordinary hot and can be
dangerous if they accidentally get into your eyes. If you don't wear
gloves, be sure to wash your hands after touching chiles. In either
case, wash the cutting surface with soap and warm water at the end of
The peppers are now ready to use. They can
be cut into thin slices, chopped, or pureed in a blender or food
processor. Keep in mind that a tiny bit adds on incredibly powerful,
intensely spicy flavor.
Here are some ideas for using roasted
- Swirl a teaspoon of roasted pepper puree
into soups, stews, or sauces, such as Warm Avocado Soup.
- Add a teaspoon of roasted pepper puree
to a basic vinaigrette and wake up a salad. Try it in Chicken Salad with
Blue Cheese and Roasted Jalapeno Pepper Vinaigrette.
- Make roasted chile pepper-flavored
vinegar: Roast 6 chile peppers following the master recipe above. Thinly
slice the peppers and push them into a long, thin bottle. Cover with
white wine vinegar and let steep for about 2 weeks before using. Store
in a cool, dark spot. Use in marinades, barbecue sauces, salads, etc.
- Add chopped roasted chile peppers to
wake up coleslaw or carrot salad.
- Mix a teaspoon of roasted pepper puree
into a homemade mayonnaise and add to potato salads and sandwiches.
- Mix chopped roasted peppers into
homemade tartar sauce and serve with fried clams.
- Stuff whole roasted peppers with goat
cheese and top with a mild tomato sauce. Bake until the cheese is