Jalapeno Poppers

Tod Dimmick

All right, I'll admit that these are over-the-top indulgent. After picking gorgeous jalapeno peppers at the farm today I couldn't resist posting this classic: crisp & crunchy on the outside, spicy-juicy on the inside. A few of these could be called an entree.

Prep time: 40 Min
Cook time: 10 min
Yield: 20-25 poppers

1 pkg (8 ounces) light cream cheese, softened
1 pkg (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
4 TB crumbled bacon
20-25 jalapeno peppers
1 cup milk
1 cup flour (whole wheat or white)
1 cup bread crumbs
(whole wheat or white)
Oil for frying

Soften the cream cheese by microwaving for 30 seconds in a large bowl. Stir in the cheddar cheese and bacon, and set aside.

Wash and dry the peppers. Using a sharp paring knife, slice each pepper in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the seeds and membranes, and discard (these are the truly hot parts of the pepper!). As you work, try to keep the matching pepper halves next to each other. Wash your hands. Mound a spoonful of the cheese mixture into one half of the pepper, and re-cap with the other half (there should be enough filling to glue the two halves together).

Arrange the pepper assembly line with a bowl containing the milk, a bowl containing the flour, and a bowl containing the bread crumbs. Dip each pepper in milk, then in flour, then set aside to dry for a minute while you do the rest. Then take each pepper and dip again in the milk, and roll in the breadcrumbs to completely coat (You can repeat this step more than once for thicker breading). Heat oil in a saucepan or deep fryer to 350F, and cook peppers for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, and serve. Delicious!

Variation: Omit the bacon, add in chives or scallions to the filling.

Note: After stuffing hot peppers, wash your hands thoroughly to remove the Capsaicin – the compound that gives peppers their heat. I wash my hands 2-3 times just to be sure. While working, be careful about rubbing your eyes etc because that hot stuff is painful!

Adapted from my recipe for the Phantom Gourmet.

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