OK, here's an idea and a question. I've been enjoying fresh roasted serranos lately, and I've been using regular commercial kitchen tongs to hold the things over an open gas flame. This is slow and dumb, 'cause you can drop them into the range. Here's what I want: A small version of the type of wire basket you see used for frying stuff at any fast food operation. Maybe I'll just have to buy the full-scale unit. I think this is the right concept, I can just toss a few peppers in the basket and set it down on the burner, and toss them about every 60 sec or so until they blacken. The handle on the basket is important. I've seen mass pepper roasting on TV, where they use a giant rotating cylinder basket over coals. How they remove the blackened skins, de-seed and de-vein is another question. This task I can handle, since I'm only dealing with a few at once. I would say this: Be extra careful not to touch your eyes after intimate contact with chiles. I'm too lazy to use gloves, I just try to keep the danger in mind.
Regarding chile choices: I just tried roasting a fresh jalapeno this morning for scrambled eggs, and I have to say I prefer serranos. The jalapenos just have too much chlorophyl. (sp?) Maybe a ripe orange or red would be OK, but those are not so easy to find. Amusingly, at the grocery yesterday, the jalapenos were THREE POUNDS for 99 cents!
-Scott Lindgren, Los Angeles the Damned