Peppers, hot or not, sweet or spicy, green or red, large or small…. are the very very very BEST ever when fresh roasted, right over the flame on your stove or out on the grill. I like to buy a batch of jalapenos, poblanos, pasillas, or bellpeppers, roast ’em up, and keep them handy in the freezer for whenever the desire or need for their luscious smokey spicy flavor pops up. You can whip up a few or a batch in no time. Before I discovered this nifty perforated grill pan, I used to balance my chiles and peppers on the burner of my gas stove. It would get a bit perilous for those jalapenos, so I held them over the flame with a pair of metal tongs. With this handy pan, it’s easy to roast any size of pepper, turning them as they blister and brown, either with a pair of tongs or by giving the pan a little shake. You can roast other veggies in a pan like this too, but if sliced or juicy, you can expect a very messy stove. Mushrooms, green onions, brussel sprouts, and the like do really well. Keep the fan going overhead to draw up the smoke and bits of ash that may float up. Your only real clean up will be wiping up bits of ash off the stove; an easy task. On the outdoor grill you can do all your small sliced veggies, whole or halved tomatoes, and fruits on a pan like this. Super handy!
Be sure to keep the flame high while you are roasting, turning each piece every now and then until all sides of the chilies are well blistered and getting blackened (but not deeply charred). If you are lacking a gas stove (I feel so sorry for you!) you can lay your peppers in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them directly under the broiler on the top rack of your oven, checking and turning every now and then so they get evenly done. The taste is not the same as fire roasted, but still fairly superb! You can freeze them fresh off the pan or out of the broiler, with charred skins intact, if you like. When you wish to use, the skins will come off pretty easily. I prefer to remove the skins first, use what I need right then, and then freeze the rest. To loosen the skins from the peppers you can freeze them (like above) or put in a bowl just the right size to hold them all, and put a dish or other cover on top so they can sweat in their own steam for 5 minutes or so. Then slide the skins off with your hands. Don’t rinse the peppers under water to get the skins off, use your hands to pull the skins off and rinse the charred bits off your hands. If you rinse the peppers you will be washing away some of the best flavor ever! Freeze your peeled chili peppers whole. For bell peppers, cut them open to remove pith and seeds, and then cut into wide strips. Place the whole peppers or slices out in a single layer on a plate or dish and place in freezer uncovered for 30-60 minutes until frozen. Then transfer them to a plastic freezer storage container. This way they will not all get frozen solid together and it’s easy to slice off just what you need whenever you want to add a kick of heat and awesome flavor to just about anything. For instance, I like to add about a half inch piece of roasted jalapeno to the blender when I make mango lassi. Wow! Roasted chiles with hash browns, mashed potatoes, or literally anything potato, are simply stellar. Add roasted peppers of all kinds to pilaus, paella, sandwiches, grain-based salads, beans, scrambled tofu, soups, stews, grilled cheese sandwiches… the list goes on.
Yogi Bhajan once said that women are married to green chilies. Well, I may not be married to green chilies, but I am certainly in love!
Green Chile Mango Lassi
Yield: 1 serving
1-1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup fresh or frozen ripe mango cubes
1/2 inch piece roasted hot green chili pepper (jalapeno, Serrano, Thai)
squeeze of lemon
honey to taste
Place all ingredients in blender jar and blend until nice and smooth. Pour over ice into a glass. In alternative, add some ice to blender or use frozen mango pieces.