I have always been disappointed with canned or jarred roasted peppers. I love the way they look but the flavor always falls short. They taste…well…canned; and no matter what you do to them they never taste very good. The price of them doesn’t help, they are expensive. They taste funny because the peppers themselves are not very acidic and the amount of acid is supremely important when you are trying to preserve something by canning it. The problem is that most things used to acidify foods also break down the structure of the pepper leaving the flesh mushy or pickled. Most manufacturers use citric acid to give the necessary PH level to can the peppers successfully which gives them a funny, one dimensional sour flavor and winds up killing all of the sweet “peppery” flavor which was there when the pepper was roasted. The funny thing is that roasting peppers is one of the easiest things to do and they taste so much better than their canned (or jarred) cousins.
The basic idea is that you are going to apply enough heat to char the skin of the pepper slightly causing it to blister and cooking the pepper slightly in the process. There are several ways to do that and the amount of heat is surprisingly high. One could roast them in a hot oven (around 450°F); burn the skin over an open flame like that of a stove top burner or over an open wood or charcoal fire; or even use a trusty Bernzomatic TS4000 mapp gas torch. I have used all of these methods to good effect depending on the desired outcome. The oven method produces the most cooked flesh while the Bernzomatic torch burns off the skin and leaves the pepper underneath practically raw and the wood fire gives a most delightful hint of smoke. Once the entire outside of the pepper is black and nicely blistered the peppers should rest wrapped in plastic wrap, foil or in a paper bag to complete the blistering process. After that it is a simple matter to remove the skin, seed the peppers and season them as you wish. You could even just throw them on a platter or sandwich without additional seasoning.
One standard treatment of seasoning the peppers with slivers of fresh garlic, a good pinch of sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a splash of good red wine vinegar (an optional splash of good extra virgin olive oil is good too) makes a great salad on its own or accompaniment to a sandwich or a cheese platter. I am sure you have all been to an Italian deli and seen the fresh mozzarella sandwich with roasted pepper; so disappointing with canned peppers and so enlightening with freshly roasted peppers seasoned just so.
For this article I slow roasted the peppers with a chicken in my new smoker with a bunch of other vegetables (garlic and onions which were consumed with the chicken). The smoked peppers were then skinned, sliced, and seasoned with fresh garlic, fresh parsley, salt, pepper, vinegar and oil. I used red, orange and yellow peppers. I am sure you will agree that the colors are spectacular and as I said; this is so simple. Enjoy!