Jalapenos have gotten a bad rap. Spice sensitive palettes instantly begin to seize whenever the word is mentioned and rightfully so. Often, jalapenos are served with the seeds and membranes intact bringing the heat – and the hurt – along for the ride. However, with some careful preparation, you will find that oven roasting a jalapeno pepper eliminates the heat and replaces it with a sultry sweet flavor that I am confident you will adore.
I borrowed this recipe from Aarti Sequeria who hosts the show Aarti Party on the Food Network. One morning I was absently watching her show while checking my email. I looked up from my computer only to see this magnificent appetizer magnified on my screen. It did not look like any jalapeno popper I had ever seen in my life and I instantly went to the store to recreate it. The only change I made is to double the cheese mixture added to each boat. This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled.
- 10 jalapeno peppers
- 1/2 lb bacon
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 large scallions
- 1 large granny smith apple
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Start by cleaning the jalapenos out. If you are particularly sensitive to capsaicin, you may want to where latex gloves during this process. Cut the jalapenos in half. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and the white membrane. Core the apple and cube into small chunks (about the size of a pea). Then cut the scallion into similarly sized coins.
Note: Do not touch your eyes or face during this process. The oil on your hands can and will cause massive discomfort. Be sure to wash your hands, cutting board, and the knife before moving on.
2. Add the scallions and apples to the cream cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
3. Add 1 tbsp of the cheese mixture to each jalapeno boat. Wrap with 1/2 slice of bacon. Secure with a toothpick.
4. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking oil. Place the boats on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart and cook for 30 minutes until the bacon has crisped. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: Leftover poppers go excellent the next day with eggs and toast.
You can easily make these months ahead of time and cook only what you will eat. Follow the recipe until step 3. Instead of placing the sheet pan in the oven, place it in the freezer instead. You want to make sure none of the peppers are touching or they will stick together. After four hours, place the frozen jalapeno boats in a freezer bag. When ready to cook, place the frozen boats on a sheet pan and cook for 30 minutes at 375 degrees until the bacon is crisp.