How to Grill Peppers

Grilled peppers taste wonderful with almost any dish you choose to cook. They add a special flavoring to other foods cooked on the grill and make a sweet or spicy accompaniment to salads also. Grilled peppers are just about the easiest thing to cook on a grill, whether you are a novice griller or an expert. They work equally well on gas or charcoal grills.

The first thing that should be decided when grilling peppers is whether you want to grill a sweet or spicy pepper. You can grill bell peppers, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, and poblano peppers, just to name a few.

Whether grilling with charcoal or gas, the first thing you must do is wash and dry your peppers. Then your grill needs to be set up so that you can grill the peppers over a direct flame. This means for those using a charcoal grill that the briquettes must be a bright orange color. Gas grills need to be set to a medium to high heat. Place your peppers on your grill rack and cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side or until they get a black char on the outside. Remove your peppers from the grill and place in a shallow pan and then place aluminum foil over the pan. The peppers should remain covered for about 20 minutes. This enables the steam from the hot peppers to soften the skins for easy removal. After the grilled peppers have sat in the pan and steamed, use a knife and fork or your fingers to slide the skin off. If using your fingers, it is recommended that you use gloves to prevent yourself from being burned, not only by the heat from grilling the peppers, but also from the heat that hot peppers such as jalapenos innately have within them.

Peppers can also be grilled to a light golden brown and eaten with the skins on them. Both skin on and skin off peppers can be served either alone or with a light sprinkling of olive oil and lemon juice. Consider pureeing them in the blender and adding a dab of sour cream for a spicy dip. Grilled peppers can also be chopped and served in omelets, or salads. Consider mashing and spreading on grilled or roasted ciabatta bread.

Grilled bell peppers and onions are also great on hotdogs, brats, or burgers. Simply take a square metal pan and place a stick off butter in it. Place the pan on the grill and when the butter melts, add chopped bell peppers and onions. Shake some onion powder, garlic powder and paprika to taste. Stir constantly until the peppers and the onions have become light brown and caramelized. Remove from the grill and serve.

Grilled peppers can also be used for making chile rellenos. Simply char the peppers, remove from the grill and slice in half. Scoop out the seeds and fill the inside of the pepper halves with cheese. Place back on the grill briefly until the cheese melts and then serve.

If there are left over grilled peppers, these can be stored by placing them in a clean jar and then covering with olive oil. The grilled peppers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Experiment with grilling different types of peppers until you discover the grilled pepper you like best. Even hot and spicy grilled peppers can attain a slightly sweet smoky flavor after they have been grilled. Removal of the membranes and seeds from a hot pepper such as jalapenos can reduce the heat of the pepper also. You may also want to experiment with different types of seasonings as you grill your peppers. Bell peppers grilled with a little salt and lemon pepper make a nice side dish for fish dishes. Heartier, hotter peppers go well with steak. Your pepper grilling experience is only limited by your imagination.

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