The easiest way to peel a fresh hot chile or sweet bell pepper is to char it first. Charring, or fire-roasting, blackens and loosens the skin from the chile’s flesh, allowing it to peel away effortlessly. It also softens the chile and imparts a slightly smoky flavor. Below are three ways to do it. Grilling and broiling are ideal for bigger batches, while the stovetop method works best for just a few.
|On the grill Lightly coat chiles with oil and place on the grate over a medium-hot to hot direct grill fire. Turn with tongs as needed until the chile is blackened on all sides.|
|Under the broiler Put unoiled chiles on a baking sheet or broiler pan and broil 4 to 6 inches from a hot broiler, turning with tongs as needed, until blackened on all sides.|
|Over a stove burner Balance unoiled bell peppers on a stove grate directly over a high gas flame, turning with tongs as needed, until blackened on all sides. If using an electric stove or for small chiles, click here.|
For all methods Once the chiles are charred, immediately put them in a heatproof bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let sit until cool enough to handle. The chiles will steam as they cool, further loosening the skins. When the chiles are cool, scrape the skins off with your fingers or a paring knife and then core and seed the chiles.
Photos: Scott Phillips
On the grill
Under the broiler
Over a stove burner