Paula Wolfert's new, improved method for roasting peppers
Looking through Paula Wolfert’s new book "The Food of Morocco," I discovered her technique for roasting peppers. This is always something I've dreaded: turning the peppers until they're evenly blackened, sweating them in a paper bag, scraping off the skin that doesn't want to come off, deveining and deseeding the limp steaming pepper. ... You know the drill. That's why her method is such a revelation. It's so simple I can't believe I didn't think of it myself.
Her tip for grilling and peeling bell peppers is found on page 86 of the massive 517-page book. Actually, this method is suggested for those with an electric or ceramic stove top, but I've been using my oven broiler.
"Core, quarter, and seed the raw peppers, then broil, skin side up, until the skins are blackened.
"Once the pepper skins are scorched, wrap in a plastic bag until cool, then wipe away the blackened skin. ... Place smooth side up, side by side, on paper towels and cover with more paper towels until ready to use."
Coring and quartering the peppers beforehand makes all the difference. They present a flattened surface to the broiler, so they blacken more evenly. And because the peppers are already quartered, removing the skin from that reduced surface area is much easier.
Now I find myself buying heaps of peppers at the market, roasting them and serving as an antipasto or mezze.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Photo: Roasted red peppers. Credit: S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles Times