I have a confession to make. I love bar snacks. Jalapeno Poppers – deep-fried and cheese filled – are the best. I never order them, though. I just can’t. I just can’t let it happen. What would people think when I’d eat the whole platter?
Still, I just love the combination of spicy, creamy and crunchy. And I love jalapenos.
But did you know, making them from scratch is not all that hard. The list of ingredients is not long, and the difference fresh jalapenos make is crazy. I will never be tempted by the cook-from-frozen stuff again.
My husband made these this past weekend to rave reviews. You know something is good when friends are pulling out their cameras and phones to share the goods with their twitterverse. We cooked these on the BBQ. I think you could easily use an oven in a pinch, but the grill gives the jalapeno’s an incredible smoky flavour. Now that I’ve tried it on the BBQ I would be hard pressed to use something else.
You could totally make these with vegan cream cheese. Diaya makes one that I really like. It acts much like the real thing and would be perfect here. I’d stick to the plain variety if you can find it.
We made a couple of sauces to go with these little guys. “Bar food” needs dips. A classic, Mexican roadhouse style salsa, with fresh cilantro and jalapeno. And a spicy lime and cilantro mayo. We used wasabi to spice up the mayo. I know it sounds weird. But think about it, you have probably had cream cheese in your sushi and you liked it. You could add finely chopped jalapeno to keep with the Mexican theme, but I really liked the different heat the wasabi added. It complemented the smokiness of the jalapeno nicely.
If you don’t have time to make the sauces from scratch (but really, they don’t take that long), your favourite store-bought salsa will do. This salsa is the bomb though, so you should try it anyway. As for the mayo, I think your stuck, you’re just gonna have to make it yourself.
Here’s how you make them:
- 1 brick cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Cajun spice mix
- 1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
- olive oil spray
- 20-25 jalapenos
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 2-3 tablespoons wasabi powder (to taste and spicey preferences)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 (14oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 (19oz)can diced tomatoes with celery, onion and green pepper
- 2 jalapenos
- salt, pepper
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- juice of a lime
- Prepare the filling: mix cream cheese, cilantro and Cajun seasonings together until well combined and evenly mixed.
- Spread bread crumbs in a shallow dish or pie plate.
- Slice each jalapeno in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and membranes, but leave stem end in tact. Fill each jalapeno half with cream cheese mixture and press, cheese side down, into the bread crumbs to cover the cheese filling and form a crust.
- Place jalapeno's on a tray, cheese and breadcrumbs side up, and lightly spray with olive oil.
- Heat grill to medium heat. Spray with olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Place jalapenos on the grill, cheese side up. Close lid, and cook 8-10 minutes.
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, allow to sit so the sugar dissolves, 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times.