Many recipes call for roasted peppers or pimientos (and yes, that is the proper spelling), including Pimento cheese (that’s how they spell it down south), potato salad, harissa, Italian sausage sandwiches, Italian beef sandwiches, omelets, risotto, and so many more recipes. Here’s how to make them the easy way.
- 1 sweet red bell pepper
- Prep. There are two ways to prep the pepper: 1) Slice the peppers in half or quarters lengthwise, strip out the seeds, ribs, and stems, and rinse them. There is less waste with this method, but the pepper has a natural curve and won't lay flat. 2) Lop off the stem end and a bit off the other end, cut through on one side top to bottom, and then run your knife along the inside wall to remove the seeds and ribs. With this method you get a long strip of pepper that can lay flat.
- Char. Place the pepper, skin side down, on a hot grill or over a gas stovetop burner, a little less than Warp 10, or place them skin side up on a pan under a broiler. Keep the heat on until the skin blisters and blackens, about 10 minutes, depending on your grill. For thick walled peppers you can flip them over for a few minutes until they are cooked through and limp, but don't burn the meaty side.
- Steam. After charring, a lot of recipes say to seal them in a paper bag so steam can loosen the skin, but those bags are often dirty and who knows what is in the glue, so I just place them in a bowl and cover it with a plate.
- After about 15 minutes, when they cool enough to handle, strip off as much of the skin as possible with your fingers, or lay them skin up and gently scrape off the skin with a knife. Discard the skin. Don't worry if a few bits of skin remain.
- Use or freeze. You can use them immediately or freeze them for months. Just put them in a zipper bag, drizzle in a little olive oil, squeeze out as much of the air as possible, zip it tight, squish them around so they are more or less coated in oil, write the date on the bag, and in the freezer they go.
- Optional. Smoke 'em. Instead of grilling the peppers, put them in your smoker until they are soft and pliable and you can strip off the skins. If they don't come off easily, toss them on the hot grill until they are charred.