Saturday, February 4, 2012

AT THE TABLE: Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Excitement for the Super Bowl this weekend has hit just about everyone I know and although I am not the biggest football fan, I can't escape the sporting hoopla. Mr. Lemontree and his friends will be gathering at our home on Sunday to cheer on their team and he has so kindly given me carte blanche with the menu and party prep! Truth be told, it's not like he would have needed to ask me twice, I love Super Bowl parties! It's easy peasy entertaining at its finest. A simple menu, minimal decorations, buffet-style set-up, add are a few avid football fans and voila, you are ready to roll.
Jalapeno poppers happen to be one of my Super Bowl party specialities. I was reprimanded one year when I had left them off the menu in exchange for a new dish and I have never been so foolish as to leave them out again.

Baked Jalapeno Poppers
1/3 cup whipped cream cheese
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (packed) grated Monterey Jack Cheese (2 ounces)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
12 medium fresh jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded and de-veined
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch cayenne pepper
4 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread (for breadcrumb mixture)

You can use store bought bread crumbs if you are so inclined but I like to prepare them myself like the recipe suggests with the sliced sandwich bread ends that usually get tossed anyways.
Place the 4 slices of bread in a food processor and process until fine crumbs form, 25 to 30 seconds. Place the crumbs on a baking sheet, spreading them evenly. Bake until golden brown in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Now onto the poppers!

This particular recipe which I spied on Recipe Girl (the original recipe can be found in a delightful book aptly named Comfort Food Fix by Ellie Krieger ) suggests halving the jalapenos and working with the halved pieces. On some occasions I have also cut the tops off, de-seed the peppers, filled them with the mixture squeezed through a piping bag and re-attached the tops using a little bit of the filling mixture as a form of glue before breading them but I suggest if this is your first go at Poppers to follow the instructions below.

image via Recipe Girl

Prepare the jalapenos by splitting them vertically and removing all seeds and tiny membranes, if any. (I will add a word of caution here since working with peppers can be a little tricky. I like to wear surgical gloves when I am touching anything this hot. I have learned my lesson after a few too many instances of touching my face and eyes with what I thought were clean hands and practically burning my retinas!)
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, stir together the cheeses and parsley. Fill each jalapeño half with 2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture.
On a plate, combine the flour, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the black pepper. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and the water together to make an egg wash. On another plate, combine 1 cup of the bread crumbs, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, the paprika, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
Dip each jalapeño half in the flour mix, shaking off the excess, then in the egg wash, and finally in the bread crumb mixture, shaking off the excess again.
Place the coated jalapeños, cut-side-up, onto the prepared baking sheet and spray lightly to coat with cooking spray. Bake until golden brown and crisp and the cheese has melted, about 30 minutes.
(original recipe via Comfort Food Fix by Ellie Krieger)

Do you have a signature dish you reserve for Super Bowl parties or tailgates?
We would love to hear what you have cooking for this weekend!


Kim Grey said...

Those look very tasty! I'm definitely going to try this recipe.

Lily Lemontree said...

Kim-I never realized how easy they were to make till I tried this recipe for the first time. And they are very tasty!!

Victoria said...

Those peppers looked and sound fantastic. Its our first year here for the super bowl so we're not really into the swing of things yet, but come next I'll be sure to have those on my party menu! Have a fun Sunday.

Beth Dunn said...

That sounds very yummy! I'm not much of a cook. I always bring wine and beer though

Second Hand Rose said...

Wow these look scrummy I hope you enjoy them! XxxX

Lily Lemontree said...

SH Rose-I am happy to report that they were delish and a big hit with my guests as expected!