Jalapeño, how I love your written name with the cool curvy dash over the ñ. I also love a few of your friends, like Mr. Padrón and Ms. Piquillo. The truth is I had a banner year for peppers in my garden and grew way more than we could use for ourselves so I’ve been giving away large bags to friends and neighbors. Since we are rapidly passing into the month of September, I didn’t want to lose an opportunity to share a favorite Summer recipe using jalapeño peppers. I stuffed both jalapeño peppers along with a few of their pepper friends just for fun and to check out how various peppers from my garden would stand up in the oven filled with a mixture of cheeses and covered with bread crumbs. How would they turn out compared to the jalapeños? The verdict- there is a reason jalapeño peppers get to be poppers while others go into salads or are pan fried and sprinkled with sea salt. I think Mr. Padrón’s ears are burning, if that’s possible for a pepper.
I found the Hatch Chili Pepper Cheddar Cheese at Whole Foods. It’s a sharp white Cheddar Cheese dotted with small pieces of green Hatch chili peppers. I found it to be good baked, mixed with feta and soft goat cheese in the peppers as well as just plain delicious to enjoy all by itself served with crackers.
The baked poppers make a tasty appetizer for all of us cheese lovers and surprisingly the jalapeños, because the seeds and membranes are removed, aren’t really that hot and the little bit of heat they give off is nicely balanced by the creamy baked cheeses. The bread crumbs give some nice crunch, I made mine fairly big -mostly due to the fact that I became tired of trying to make thick slices of hearty multi-grain bread into bread crumbs using a little tiny mini food processor. But, all’s well that ends well, in this case the bigger crumbs stood up nicely to, once again that creamy melted cheese -you gotta love that cheese baked in the jalapeños, they are just so good warm from the oven.
- 12 jalapeño peppers, cut in half seeds and membranes removed
- 4 ounces soft fresh goat cheese
- 2 ounces Feta crumbles
- 4 ounces grated Hatch Chili Pepper Cheddar Cheese
- 2 tablespoons whole milk yogurt
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh sweet basil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- for the crumb coating
- 2 cups multi-grain bread crumbs, made with hearty bread, ground on the coarser side
- 2 eggs
- Pinch of sea salt
- Olive oil to brush on top before baking
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the cheeses, yogurt, basil, salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.
- Place the breadcrumbs in a large shallow bowl.
- Whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl.
- Stuff the pepper halves with cheese, smoothing the tops.
- Dip the pepper halves in egg and then bread crumbs, pressing the bread crumbs onto the peppers.
- Place the pepper halves evenly spaced on the prepared baking sheet and lightly brush the tops with olive oil.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden brown on top of fully cooked peppers.
- Cool for a few minutes and serve.