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It might surprise you, but but my husband does not alway succeed in the kitchen. And when he fails, I just love to help.

“Did you rush again? Were you impatient? Did you measure that liquid in a dry measure cup?” I’ll query him to find out the truth and after twenty-five years together he’s actually finding it harder and harder to lie to me. Not that he often lies, but … Well, all you wives out there understand.

After a day spent doing what I do, which varies by day, in the kitchen even I sometimes want it simple. So Brian and I love this recipe with its basic concept: just burn it. When roasting peppers, it’s hard to go wrong, and Brian was quite successful with this recipe. I smiled.

This recipe from Let the Flames Begin by barbeque mavens Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby is really even better than simple. If offers five different ways to treated the roasted peppers. I chose the basil-garlic vinaigrette but other options include garlic-thyme oil, green olive and red onion mix, peach-fennel, and goat cheese with black olives.

We had fresh basil on hand and a pantry with lots of great vinegar so my basil-garlic choice was a natural.

Once you have these peppers in hand, the possibilities for eating them are endless. I like them straight out of the refrigerator, which would be a sin in Italy. Warmed to room temperature is the proper style, I understand. You can add these to salads, use them to top chicken or fish, or even dice and include in pasta. And of course, you can always slice these peppers up, add onion and sour cream, and create your own master dip.

On your next opportunity, grab a bag of peppers, roast away, and let you imagination run free. For the other recipe options, I invite you to look at Let the Flames Begin, a wonderful book full of summer cooking ideas.

The original recipe here called for fire-roasting. I’ve adapted it for my gas grill.

Roasted Peppers in a Basil-Garlic Vinaigrette

Yield: 6 roasted peppers


For the Peppers:

6 fresh peppers, red, yellow or orange

For the Basil-Garlic Vinaigrette:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup julienned fresh basil
½ teaspoon minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste


To Roast the Peppers:

Start all the burners on your gas grill, set them on high, close the lid, and allow the grill to heat for 15 minutes.

Place the peppers on the grill and cook, rolling around occasionally, until the skin is completely black and well blistered on all sides, somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes. Time isn’t important here. Blackness is. Burn, baby, burn.

Remove the peppers from the grill, put them in a stainless steel bowl, and cover the bowl with aluminum foil. All to stand for 15-20 minutes. After this waiting time, you can still work the peppers when they are warm. They will have collapsed during this “steaming” process.

Remove the partially cooled peppers from the bowl. Tear them in half, remove the ribs and seeds, and peel off the blackened skin. You may have to run the peppers gently under cold water to remove the final charred bits of skin.

Preparation Vinaigrette and Final Assembly:

In bowl large enough to hold the peppers, combine all the vinaigrette ingredients and mix well. Add the roasted, peeled, halved peppers, tossing to coat thoroughly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator.

Source: Adapted from Let the Flames Begin by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby