Last week Emeril co-hosted with Kelly Ripa on Live with Regis and Kelly, and he was talking about how he can't find any hot jalapeno peppers. All of the peppers he has been getting are mild. Well Emeril, come on over to my garden! I've got the hottest peppers in town.
This is the first year that I have grown jalapenos, and I didn't realize just how many each plant would produce. I had a few sitting around that needed to be used up, so I decided to make an appetizer - Jalapeno Poppers.
I knew basically what to do and wasn't planning on using a recipe, but after reading this recipe on the Epicurious web site, decided to follow it.
Ingredients (I cut this in half)
- 12 fresh jalapeños
- 3 ounces coarsely grated Cheddar (1 cup) and 3 ounces coarsely grated Monterey Jack (1 cup) (I used a Mexican blend)
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup plain fine dry bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano (I used Mexican oregano)
- About 4 cups vegetable oil (I used about 1 cup - just enough to give me about 1/2 inch of oil in my pan. It worked perfectly by cooking the peppers on one side and then the other, with a bit of overlap in the middle)
- Cut a lengthwise slit from stem to bottom of each chile. Make a crosswise incision at stem end, forming a T. Pry open enough to hold back long cuts (to expose ribs and seeds), then devein and seed using tip of a paring knife and kitchen shears.
- Stir together cheeses, hot sauce, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
- Fill chiles with cheese mixture, pressing seams closed after filling, so that cheese is compacted and chile retains its shape.
- Lightly beat eggs in a small shallow bowl. Stir together bread crumbs, oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in another shallow bowl.
- Dip chiles in egg, letting excess drip off, then coat with bread crumbs, transferring to a work surface. Repeat coating with egg and crumbs to form a second layer. (This step is key to getting a nice, thick, crispy coating)
- Heat 2 inches oil to 325°F in a medium saucepan. Fry chiles in 3 batches, stirring occasionally, until golden brown all over, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to several layers of paper towels to drain. Return oil to 325°F between batches.
Double-dipping the pepper in the egg and breadcrumbs was the perfect tip in this recipe. The first time I dipped, a lot of the egg slide off and therefore the breadcrumbs didn't stick. But by the second dip in each, I could tell the coating would be perfectly thick and crispy, and it was.
I'd make these again, but would change just one thing. I don't think the hot-sauce was needed in the cheese mixture at all.
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