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Grilled Italian Sweet Peppers

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These grilled Italian sweet peppers are easy to prepare. They make a great side dish or a delicious addition to a steak sandwich or antipasto dish.

We used Carmen sweet peppers for this recipe but you can use bell peppers if you can’t find these long, horn-shaped peppers.

A serving plate filled with grilled Italian sweet peppers.

I saw a display of these beautiful, red peppers in the produce section of Central Market. The sign said they were ‘grilling peppers’ and as I had never seen any like this before I bought several to try out.   I asked the produce man what kind of peppers they were and he told me they were Sweet Italian Peppers or Carmen peppers.   

We had planned on having a cook-out the next evening with some guests and I included these on the menu.  I love the shape of these sweet peppers. They look exactly like giant chili peppers but they have a mild, sweet taste and they are soooo good grilled!   The dark char from the grill gives them extra flavor. They were a big hit with our dinner guests.

How to Grill Italian Sweet Peppers:

Carmen peppers in a dish just before being grilled.

I coated them in some olive oil then put them on a medium-hot charcoal grill. I let them cook over the coals until they became all blistery and charred.  

They were served hot off the grill for dinner and so delicious I could have just made a meal of them and nothing else.  Personally, I like the taste of the charred skin but for anyone that doesn’t, the skin slips off so easy leaving a moist, silky deliciousness.  

You Can Also Cook Them in the Oven:

These peppers are really easy to prepare and you can roast them in the oven as well as grilling them.  If you want to use the oven then turn the broiler to high and stick them on a roasting pan. Place them under the broiler and turn them every couple of minutes until they puff up and get black char marks.

Carmen Italian sweet peppers on a hot grill.

Preserving Sweet Italian Peppers:

If you make extra peppers, you can keep them for several weeks if you put them in a brine.

With the remaining peppers, I grilled them then stuffed them into a jar with brine.  They are sitting in my refrigerator and will keep for a couple of weeks unless we devour them right away.

A few days after our cook-out, I was back in that produce area again and bought more of these wonders.  

I grilled up another batch and when they were cool I put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and froze them.   After they were frozen solid I vacuum-sealed them and returned them to the freezer.  

How to Use Grilled Carmen Italian Sweet Peppers:

You can eat these grilled sweet peppers au naturale or you can add them to other recipes. Add them while cold to our chipotle chicken pasta salad or toss them into a hot pasta dish like our Spanish chorizo and shrimp pasta. The possibilities are endless. Here are some other ideas:

Make a quick pasta dinner:

  1. Cook some pasta according to the package directions.
  2. Slice and eggplant and toss the slices on the grill along with these sweet Italian peppers.
  3. Add some Italian sausages to the grill.
  4. When everything has a nice char on them, give them a rough chop and toss them in a bowl with the cooked pasta.

Two grilled sweet peppers on a plate with a serving platter in the background.

When to Pick Carmen Italian Sweet Peppers:

If you grow your own Italian sweet peppers then wait until they turn a bright red before you pick them. You can still eat them while they are green but they are much sweeter if you wait until they turn red.

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A serving plate filled with grilled Italian sweet peppers.

Grilled Italian Sweet Peppers

Yield: 1 pint
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Grilled Italian Sweet Peppers make an amazing side dish or you can add them to other recipes for a sweet, smokey flavor. You can eat them right after they get grilled or preserve them in a brine solution and they will keep for weeks.

This recipe shows you how to preserve them whole in vinegar-based brine. These smoky tasting peppers are a great addition to a pasta recipe or included in an appetizer plate.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Sweet Italian Peppers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Prepare the grill and while it is getting hot, rinse the peppers with cold water and wipe them dry with a paper towel, then brush them with the olive oil.
  2. In a small sauce pan, add the vinegar, water and salt and bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer.
  3. Add one pint jar to a sauce pan of water and bring to a boil to sterilize it, reduce the heat to simmer and add the lid and screw band. Keep in the simmering water until needed.
  4. When the grill is ready at medium-hot, arrange the peppers and allow them to get slightly charred and blistery, turning them as needed. Remove them from the grill and reserve.
  5. With a jar lifter or tongs, carefully remove the sterilized jar from the boiling water and add the peppers to about one inch from the top of the jar. Add the vinegar, water and salt mixture to cover the peppers. Insert a table knife inside the jar between the jar and the peppers and run it all around the inside of the jar to release any air bubbles. Press down on the peppers, add more brine solution if needed to cover the peppers. There should be at least 1/2-inch of headspace between the peppers and the rim of the jar.
  6. Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp paper towel, add the lid and screw band. Allow the jar of peppers to cool then keep them refrigerated.
  7. When removing peppers from the jar, keep any remaining peppers covered with water.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 53Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 135mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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This recipe was first posted on October 8, 2014. We updated the photos but left some of the originals below.

Grilled Italian Sweet Peppers
Grilled Italian Sweet Peppers
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