Let us pause briefly to thank whoever threw the first pepper into the fire before eating it. That lucky pioneer was really onto something. Blistered by heat, steamed in their own juices, and stripped of their blackened skins, roasted peppers are sweeter, smokier, and just more pepper-ific than raw ones. All you need to roast them: a few minutes, a flame, and a little know-how. Permission to char? Granted!
Step 1: Wash 'Em
Remove any stuck-on labels and give your peppers a rinse. We’re working with red bell peppers here, but you really can roast any kind of pepper. Remember to wear gloves if you’re using spicy chile peppers.
Step 2: Char 'Em
In the oven (awesome for multiple peppers) Preheat broiler to high or oven to 500°F. Set peppers on a foil-lined broiler pan or baking sheet 4 inches from heat source. Cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until peppers soften and skins are charred and blistered on all sides, 5 to 30 minutes total, depending on pepper size.
OR: Over a gas burner (ideal for 1 pepper)
Turn burner to medium-high. Using tongs, set pepper on burner grate directly over flame. Cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until pepper softens and skin is charred and blistered on all sides (including top and bottom), 2 to 5 minutes per side, depending on pepper size.
Step 3: Steam 'Em (to Loosen the Skins)
Put charred peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam 10 to 20 minutes. Remove plastic wrap carefully and cool to room temperature.
Step 4. Peel 'Em
Pull off blackened skin in strips with your fingers. Use a knife to scrape away any stubborn remnants. Work over a bowl to catch flavorful juices and minimize mess.
Step 5: Seed 'Em
Cut peppers in half, remove stems, and scrape out seeds and white membrane with a knife. (You can also rinse off those pesky seeds under running water. It’ll wash away some of the flavor, but it’s quicker than scraping, especially when you have a lot of peppers to seed.) —Nicholio
This article was first published in the June/July/August 2015 issue of Allrecipes magazine.