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Turn up the heat, grab the tongs and start roasting peppers

I am looking for a good way to roast peppers ... long, short or bell; hot or sweet. Please send me any suggestions.

The first thing to do is to turn your broiler on to high, then place those wonderful peppers on a foil-lined pan. Put the pan on a rack high in the oven so that the peppers are close to the broiler units. Using tongs, keep turning the peppers so that their skins are completely blackened on all sides. When they are good and charred, remove the pan and seal the peppers in a plastic bag to steam and cool. The steam will separate the skin from the flesh of the peppers, making it easy to remove when they are cool.

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Now if you are blessed with a gas stove, or you want to use your outdoor grill, the technique is much the same. Using tongs or a grill rack, place the peppers as close to the flames as possible, turning as they char, and finish the process with the plastic bag.

Now, let's talk about my favorite peppers -- those long, hot and spicy darlings that make you lunge for your margarita. There are two of these types of peppers, either thin-walled or thick-walled. Habanero, Tabasco and serrano are some of the thin-walled peppers. Thick-walled peppers include jalapenos, poblanos or, or for the milder recipes, your typical bells. Thick-walled peppers are easier to work with for roasting because the skin comes off easily and there is much less chance of burning the flesh of the peppers as they roast.

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Jim Coleman is the executive chef at the Rittenhouse Hotel, Philadelphia, the author of three cookbooks and the host of two nationally syndicated cooking shows -- A Chef's Table on NPR, and Flavors of America on PBS. His wife, Candace Hagan, is a food writer.


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