Roasted peppers perk up any appetizer plate

Roasting peppers this time of year, after they've made the long journey from California or Mexico, helps to perk them back up. (Picture Partners/Dreamstime/TNS)

Whether it’s the Super Bowl or the Oscars, a watch party calls for finger food, a food that’s easy to serve, easy to eat and easy on the cook.

Take blistered peppers, charred over a flame or under the broiler — shishito, Padrón or those pretty mini-bell peppers.


Roasting peppers this time of year, after they’ve made the long journey from California or Mexico, helps to perk them back up. The intense heat of a flame adds a touch of smokiness, and concentrates their sweet or hot flavors while helping to remove the pepper’s bitter skin. After they’ve just been roasted, let them cool, uncovered, on a plate. Then, using a paper towel, just rub and peel the skin off. It’s OK to leave a little of the char behind.

The sweet, flavorful roasted mini bell peppers are a fine match to zesty guacamole.

Roast Mini-Bells

Serves 4 to 6

Sweet roasted mini-bells make a fine counterpoint to a zesty guacamole (see recipe). Don’t hesitate to double or even triple the batch. Pack any extras into jars add oil, cover, and store in the refrigerator for up to a week. For ease, these are charred under the broiler, but you can do this by holding the peppers in tongs over a stove flame or directly on the grill. From Beth Dooley.

• 2 lb. (1 bag) mini-bell peppers

• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• Generous pinch coarse salt

• Generous pinch freshly ground black pepper


Set the broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lay the peppers out on the baking sheet so they don’t touch. Drizzle them with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put them under the broiler for 3 minutes, then shake the pan. Continue to broil, watching to see that they blister, another 2 to 5 minutes. They should be charred all around.

Remove and allow the peppers to stand until cool enough to handle. Using a paper towel and your fingers, gently remove the peel from the peppers. (It’s OK if some of the charred skin is left behind.)

Zesty Guacamole

Serves 4 to 6.

Can you ever have too many guacamole recipes? This easy guac is ready in seconds. To store any extra, cover the guacamole with a thin layer of lime juice, then tightly wrap with plastic, pushing it down so that it’s flush with the guacamole. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Drain off the excess liquid and stir before serving. From Beth Dooley.

• 4 ripe avocados

• 1 small tomato, chopped

• 1 small red onion, finely diced

• 1 small jalapeño, seeded and diced (leave the seeds in for more heat)

• 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

• 1/4 c. fresh lime juice, to taste

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit, and then scoop out the flesh, dice and transfer to a bowl. Add the tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, cumin and lime juice and mash to desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasonings before serving.

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