“Roasting” Peppers

If you are here, it is most likely because you are interested in finding a better or at least easier way to peel peppers. This is the place.


Peppers, sweet or hot, FRESH.

Equipment required:

Propane torch or broiler element in a home oven.
Toothbrush, 1 each, NEW.
Heat proof screen/surface.

Level of difficulty 1.75


This recipe is a component of Advance Seared Short Ribs

“Roast” is a misnomer. Scorched is more accurate. The object is to remove the skin. Roasting in a hot oven will cook the entire pepper in short order without loosening the skin very much. I prefer a propane torch. The broiler function on your oven also serves. Only the skin side needs to be scorched.

Cut a generous slice off the ends of the peppers and cut the resulting cylinder open. Remove the seeds and pith and cut them into four relatively flat pieces.

Lay the peppers out on a screen above a heat proof surface. NO OIL. Oil conducts heat but also deflects the intensity of the flame.

Use the torch to blacken the peppers entirely.

The propane flame will scorch and blister the skin without actually cooking the peppers.

Put the peppers in a Ziploc bag and seal. This will help loosen the skin. Wait at least one half hour. There are many ways to finally remove the skin. People use their fingers, wet towels, dry towels, paper towels and numerous other methods.

Most cooks consider the assignment of peeling the peppers to be a form of punishment, like making brochettes or Hollandaise sauce. I have devised a method that is not as torturous. You might want to brace yourself for the next sequence.

A (new) toothbrush is the perfect tool for this task. Understandably, some people cringe when I tell them this. I admit, the idea seems strange at first.

I am quick to remind them that a toothbrush is actually INTENDED to go into your mouth. And this one is brand new. There are very few things cleaner than a new toothbrush. Sometimes, home cooks are still hesitant. Seasoned cooks are eager to try out the method. That is how much they hate peeling peppers.

Gently scrub the surface of the pepper, just as if you were brushing teeth (?). Dip the toothbrush in a container of cold water periodically to rinse off the black flecks that accumulate. Change the water in the container and dip the peeled peppers in it to wash off whatever flecks remain.

Nature abhors a vacuum, and you may find that it is almost impossible to remove every last fleck of skin from the pepper. Even the canned Ortega chilies are not completely devoid of flecks. It is an example of the law of diminishing returns. The longer you scrub the peppers, the more flecks you will find.

Norm King



People spend entire careers repeating tasks, all the while knowing that there must be a better way. These recalculations would require free time with no distractions. Some calm reflection may be required. Modern prescribed work loads do not allot time for engineering a better mousetrap or whatever.

By the time we retire, most of us have had enough. We are no longer required to use those inefficient and annoying methods that have seemingly been in use since time immemorial. We lose interest in them. There seems to be a disconnect, a discussion for another day. I stopped working for a living--but I never stopped working--or thinking.
This is the result of some recent pondering.

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