Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Roasted Red Capsicums
If memory serves me right, I am not Chairman Kaga but these are red Capsicums (or Bell Peppers). One of the best things to do with these lovelies is to roast them to bring out their sublime sweetness.
There are quite a few ways of roasting - a la Jamie Oliver, straight over a gas flame, on a BBQ grill, under a griller or in the oven.
If I only have one, then under the grill is a quick and painless way - when the skin is blackened, place the capsicum in a bowl that's covered with cling-wrap - you want to keep the heat in to help sweat off the skin and collect those lovely sweet juices of the capsicum.
When I'm doing a larger number, oven roasting is the way to go. I will split the capsicums and remove the seeds then flatten them out. Next, a drizzle of olive oil to lightly coat the skins - this adds a bit more body to the pan juices.
Place them in a single layer on a baking tray and cook in a moderate oven 180°C/350°F until the skin begins to crinkle and char.
The exact time needed will depend on the size of the capsicums - smaller capsicums have thinner flesh levels so need to removed a lot earlier then larger capsicums.
It may not look very attractive but there's mountains of flavour. Cover the pan once it comes out of the oven - once again this helps loosen the skin.
When cooled only slightly, begin to pull away the skin - I've seen some people wash the charred skin off , don't do that, you'll be washing all those lovely sweet juices away as well. Just do it by hand, it doesn't have to be perfect and leaving specks of skin are fine.
Once the skin has been removed, store them under olive oil, that's if you can resist eating them straight away! (Don't forget to collect and add the pan juices) I like to add some finely sliced garlic - just a personal preference.
Store them in the fridge - use them in sandwiches, pizza, pasta, mezze, tapas and antipasto platters. The capsicum and garlic infused oil is great for salads or tossed through potatoes before roasting.