kitchen basics: how to roast fresh chiles
As the weather cools down, we all find ourselves drawn to more warming foods. Lately we’ve been making things like chiles rellenos casserole and burritos, as well as tossing strips of roasted peps into stews and other warming Mexican dishes, and consequently I’ve found myself roasting up anaheims and poblanos more often than usual! Roasty pepper strips are actually pretty versatile (try topping a burger or sandwich with them!), so I thought I’d share a little basics post to document the ropes. If you have any favorite recipes using roasted chiles, let me know in the comments, and I hope to share our recipe for baked chiles rellenos soon!
How to Roast, Skin, and De-seed Fresh Chiles
1. Turn on the broiler in your oven. While it preheats, rinse and dry your chiles. If you like, rub the surface with a little olive oil (we often skip this step, but it adds a touch of flavor).
2. Place the chiles on a baking sheet, to catch any dripping juices– we sometimes put them straight on the rack, but the dripping juices will make your oven smell like roasted peppers well after you’re finished. Place the baking sheet in the oven on the rack closest to the broiler, and leave the chiles to blacken and blister, turning occasionally, until all sides are blistered, about 10 minutes.
3. Remove the chiles from the oven. Place them in a ziploc bag and seal it, or place them in a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel while they cool. The steam will soften the skin, making it easier to remove, while you wait for them to be cool enough to handle.
4. Remove the chiles from the bag or bowl and gently remove the skin; it should peel off easily with your fingers. Use your fingers or a small paring knife to remove the stems, and make a slit down one side of each pepper. You can then open up the pepper and gently remove the seed pods and any stringy bits. Carefully wipe away all of the seeds if you wish, or leave some of them in there to maintain a little spiciness. If necessary, gently rinse your peppers to remove any bits of skin or seeds.
5. If you are looking to stuff your chiles, you should now have an empty sort of pepper sleeve that you can fill, fold back up, and bake or fry. If you want strips (rajas) or chunks, simply slice or chop the opened up pepper in the desired way and then toss it in or on to your dish. Either way, enjoy!