I’m making a vegetarian lasagna for a small event today.  I thought this might be a good time to share this really easy method, but that takes the taste of the peppers up about 3 notches.  It’s easy to do and the end result can be used in a number of different ways.  Start with some colourful peppers, I bought red, yellow and orange peppers.

4 colourful peppers – washed and dried
Pair of long tongs – bbq style

Get yourself a coffee/tea/juice, you will be standing in front of the gas stove for about 20 minutes. Do not walk away from the stove – there is a pepper on a direct flame in your kitchen. These instructions are for a gas stove but a conventional oven can also be used. Turn your gas burner on – you can use one or two burners. I used the larger burner only. Rest the peppers on top of the grill so the flame touches the peppers. Turn the peppers over as each side gets roasted – see the pictures of the process below – the final result is a black, charred pepper infused with more flavour that you can imagine.

If you prefer to use your oven, turn the broiler on to 450c degrees.  Rub the peppers with a little cooking oil making sure the entire surface is coated.  Place the oil coated peppers on  a foil lined tray (for easier cleanup) and place under the broiler.  Turn the peppers as each side gets brown/black spots on it.  It is a fast process so you need to stand there with your tongs in hand and an oven  mitt to get access to the tray.  When they are fully black – continue with the next step.

Transfer the finished black, charred pepper to a bowl and cover, let it cool on it’s own.  Once cool, peel the black charred skin off, it comes off easily, just rub with your finger – some suggest washing it at this stage – why? There is flavor in the char – honest! Remove the stem/seed pods, slice up and your peppers are ready to use.  They can be stored at this stage in some extra virgin olive oil.  Make sure the peppers are completely submerged in the oil or they will spoil.  Store in the refrigerator.  Great on a sandwich, in a salad, diced and mixed with goat cheese then stuffed into a chicken bread etc.  If any liquid accumulates in the bowl while the peppers are cooling, add it to your pasta sauce or vinaigrette if using the peppers in a salad – it has a great flavor. Taste it for yourself. I also added, creamed (table cream not the real stuff) spinach, sauteed zucchini, sauteed cremini and shiitake mushrooms and of course a flavorful home made tomato sauce.

Variation:  In the summer time (doing this in the house is hazardous as the oils in the pepper sizzle and makes breathing really difficult), throw some habanero peppers on the bbq, follow the same process – char.  I don’t peel these, they are small as I don’t let them get as black. If you want to peel them, use gloves – these are some of the hottest peppers in the world.  Combine them with the regular peppers in extra virgin olive oil.  Once you have finished the peppers (in a veal sandwich or with a great steak) use the remaining oil to sautee vegetables or to toss pasta in.  The peppers impart their heat to the oil leaving behind a really delicious spicy oil.