Grilled Sweet Bell Peppers / Capsicum

Never judge a book by its cover or something by the color of its skin…char1you never know what lies within. Isn’t this just an amazing photograph of seemingly charred and inedible red capsicum or sweet red bell peppers??? How can anything delicious come from something that looks like this? Grilled red and yellow peppers are one of my favorite side dishes, salad ingredients or antipasto components. I can eat this as part of a grilled pepper and mozzarella salad, in a mixed green salad, together with prosciutto and sharp goats milk cheeses, thrown into a creamy dressing or dip… there are dozens of uses for this fantastic ingredient. It looks good, has fantastic flavor and a terrific texture.

There is something about the heat of the charcoal grill acting on char2 capsicum or sweet bell peppers that transforms its texture and flavor dramatically under super hot conditions into a delicious ingredient or dish all on its own. For some reason, this treatment does not work for green capsicum, however. To make, buy some really fresh and meaty red and yellow (orange and purple if you are lucky) capsicum and grill them directly on hot coals or on the grill a few inches above the coals. Turn frequently until the skins are charred black. You can also do this over a gas flame on your stove if you don’t have a barbecue going, but this is a little trickier to do. Take them off the heat and put in a paper bag that you seal shut (putting them in a bowl and covering with cling wrap will also work) so that the steam from the hot capsicum continues to cook the peppers and facilitates peeling. When cooled a bit, peel the peppers, remove the stem and seeds and slice into large pieces. Coat with olive oil and store in the fridge until needed. Will last 3-5 days in the fridge.


10 Responses

  1. Yum! I love roasted bell peppers, too. However, I’m generally too lazy to fire up the backyard grill to make them myself. I have an electric coil cooktop so I can’t do it indoors. So, I just go to the local Italian deli and buy ’em already cooked and coated with olive oil.

    How are the red bell peppers in Manila these days? I remember once upon a time they were dry, tough little things that were more bitter/tangy and not sweet enough. Sounds like they’ve improved greatly?

  2. fried-neurons the bell peppers here are much better. However, they are grown in greenhouses so although they physically look good and have great texture, their flavor sometimes suffers and is a bit less intense than field grown peppers. There are some local strains that look less nice but have a stronger flavor that some cooks prefer…

  3. Capsicum is paprika in the German-speaking contries like Austria (I use the leaves when cooking tinola and they give the same flavor chilis would). Anyway, in summer I grill them on coals but don’t let them get charred, and yet easy to peel off. In winter I use the oven (also for eggplants). I marinate them in olive oil, salt and pepper and lots of crushed garlic, and squeeze some lime juice over them. Best with olive bread.

  4. MM i recall being able to get orange and purple capsicums (in addition to the usual reds and yellows) in Pricemart. the last time i got them there they were packed in an assortment of colours, about 6-8pcs to a pack.

  5. Virgilio now I figured out what your paprika leaves are… wasn’t sure what you were putting in your tinola! This is really good with substantial breads. Rina, you are right, some of the growers have gotten fancy and I have on occassion found purple, orange and white peppers. Unfortunately, they tend to lose their vibrant colors when grilled in this fashion so I find the red and yellow to be the most stable…

  6. mmmm…. roasted peppers….
    the wifey and i makes salsa out of roasted peppers (with the skin off) and roasted onions (with the usual large tomatoes, wansoy, lime juice, coriander seeds (if available), jalapenos, a dash of tequila…) perfect with nachos and a cold beer!

  7. This is one of my favourite snacks. Roasted peppers on top of toasted bruschetta….nothing can be simpler but full of flavour. In winter time, i buy red peppers in bulk, roast them and make antipasto out of them with garlic, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sooo yummy!!

  8. Ellen, I could munch at your place. I do like grilled red peppers a lot. Acidboy, a salsa with red peppers sounds like something I would really like. It sounds like a tomato salsa with added peppers…yum.

  9. mm,
    oh, yes- i forgot to add salad tomatoes on the list. i don’t bother roasting the tomatoes since it dries up the otherwise yummy juices off the tomatoes.

    as a very frustrated lover of mexican food (can’t find any i like here) i have succumbed to making my own salsas. perhaps you could have a mexican feature here sometime.



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