Your Burning Questions

How to Peel a Pepper

By • March 22, 2014 • 6 Comments

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There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Maximize your capsicums. 

How to Peel a Pepper, from Food52

Peter Piper may have picked a peck of pickled peppers, but the jury's still out as to whether he peeled them. For some, that task is unnecessary; for all, it is tedious. But doing so ensures that your pepper is nothing but tender, so it's worth jumping through that hoop if you want them at their best. Cecil Wooten asked the community for advice, and you all chimed in:

  • "I heat the pepper over an open flame until the skin chars, then place in a bag to steam. The skin will come right off," says jmburnsPierino agrees, adding that doing so "only enhances the flavor."
  • It's possible to peel a raw pepper too, and as with many of life's great questions, the answer is Marcella Hazan. Says ChezHenry: "Marcella always instructed to use a swivel peeler...it works great for me. Mixter adds: "Ever since my husband fell in love with Marcella Hazan, we have peeled our peppers. It is a little time-consuming, but a peeled pepper is a completely different product from a roasted pepper." Mixter assures us that it isn't necessary to try and remove every little bit of skin, and luvcookbooks points out that this recipe does a good job of explaining how to use the swivel peeler.

Do you have any pepper peeling secrets up your sleeve? Tell us in the comments!

Jump to Comments (6)

Tags: how-to & diy, hotline, best question, pepper, bell pepper

Comments (6)

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6 months ago sew719

I usually roast them over the gas stove and throw them in a lidded container for 5-10 minutes before peeling. I've read that rinsing off the peel negatively impacts the flavor, but for dishes like stuffed poblanos, or when I'm blending roasted peppers with something else, I haven't noticed much of a difference. One piece of probably obvious advice: be careful not to let them char too long if you're roasting them under the broiler. I did this last week when making a large batch of stuffed peppers, while distracted with filling, and the flesh ended up getting black and crispy as well. This was hugely irritating as I was in no position to return to the store for another 12 peppers!

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6 months ago Ellen

My favorite way is to throw them on the grill whole alongside whatever else is cooking. When done to your liking, toss on the counter and cover with a pan to steam and they will peel easily.
Method 2: if you are slow cooking anything in the oven throw in a covered pot full of whole peppers. They will steam and peel easily with no charred flavor.
Method 3: throw whole stemmed chilies in a pot of any kind of soup or stew (my favorite is posole), and after about 30 minutes fish them out and scrape the flesh off of the skin, adding the flesh back to the soup.

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6 months ago ChezHenry

Roasted peppers, like roasted "anything" bring with them a flavor profile. Additionally, peeled and roasted peppers will disintegrate into a long cooked dish-basically you're cooking the peppers twice. That may work for some recipes. Hazan's technique of peeling first using a swivel peeler keeps the basic pepper flavor without introducing the char of roasting, and maintains the integrity of the pepper shape throughout cooking. Of course, let's not forget the main reason to peel them-the skins are indigestible.

Chili_falcon

6 months ago gbatrucks

I somewhat dis-agree with ChezHenry, especially when working with Hatch (Anaheim) chilis pictured above. The object is to make the skin removeable without cooking the flesh. This requires hi heat such as a gas burner for a short time and moving the chilis a lot and then letting them steam in a bag (grocery bag works fine) or a covered pot. This way the flesh will still be firm and holds up well to long simmering. I've used this meathod for over 30 years as a competition chili cook. Now if your cooking the long green Hungarians, (looks like the Anaheims above but a very pale green) they are not as fleshy & the skin is thin...no need to peel them...just fry them as is.

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6 months ago ChezHenry

You obviously know your peppers. I just commented on two areas where I see the difference, flavor and consistency. Roasted peppers are great, and a standard (Rao's recipe with pine nuts and raisins) on my antipasto platter. Roasting, steaming, then cooking again is going to take a toll on the tooth to the pepper. Marcella Hazans Chicken Cacciatore should be called Chicken w/Peppers, as is her tremendous Rabbit with Peppers-and both dishes are completely transformed by peeling the raw peppers, then cooking. Give it a try with a Tagine, Braise or stew the next time it calls for peppers.

Stringio

6 months ago Ann-Marie D. Nguyen-Shavurova

Definitely roast over a gas stove (if you have one) and then throw it into a ziplock to steam and then rub the bag around and you're done! Delish! Anyone have a recipe for marinated red peppers?