Thursday, November 14, 2013

Recipe: Jalapeño Popper Melt

Jalapeño Poppers are the deep fried appetizers popular back in the '90's. Classically, a jalapeño was seeded and then filled with a cheese mixture, (sometimes cheddar, sometimes cream cheese) breaded and then fried. It was usually served with some type of cooling sauce.
The appeal was multilayered, chewy and spicy pepper, gooey melted cheese, crunchy coating and cooling sauce. The popper was served warm, that is heated through, so the temperature change was another layer in it's goodness.
In my cookbook, Aprés Tennis I include an appetizer dip recipe with those flavors. But I wanted to try it in a sandwich and it translated very well. Melted cheese, spicy jalapeño and toasty bread… delicious.
Jalapeño Popper Melt - Makes 1 sandwich
2 slices sturdy bread, such as English Toasting Bread
6 Tbsp cream cheese
1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeños (more or less to taste) or much less if using fresh jalapeños
4 tortilla chips, crushed
1 slice bacon, crispy and chopped (optional)
8 very thin slices cheddar cheese
1 T butter

In a skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat.
Meanwhile make sandwich. Spread cream cheese on one side of each slice of bread, (3 Tbsp each piece). Divide chopped jalapeños and place on top of the cream cheese layer. Divide the crushed tortilla chips and sprinkle on top of the jalapeño-cream cheese layer. Place one piece of bread into skillet and top with 4 slices of cheese. Sprinkle with chopped bacon.  Top with remaining 4 slices of cheese and other piece of bread, so that the cream cheese mixture is now on top of the cheese.
Toast the sandwich on both sides in the skillet, until the bread is brown, crispy and the cheese is melted.
Slice in half and serve.

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