Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Serves: 2 dozen
12 fresh jalepeno peppers, halved lengthwise, stems, seeds and membranes removed
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese – or cheddar
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t cayenne
2 large eggs
2 T milk
8 t Essence (recipe follows)
1 C panko crumbs or fine dry breadcrumbs
1/2 C all-purpose flour
Options: cooked bacon, chopped onion
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
In a bowl, cream together the cream cheese, Monterey Jack, cumin and cayenne (and bacon and onion if using).
In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and 2 t of Essence. In a shallow dish, combine the panko crumbs and remaining 4 t of Essence. In third dish, combine flour and remaining 2 t of Essence. Spread 1 T of the cheese mixture into the middle of ea. jalapeno half. One at a time, dredge in the flour, dip into the egg mixture, then dredge in panko crumbs, pressing to coat. If necessary, repeat. Place the coated peppers, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet and bake until the filling is running and the crust is golden, about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and serve immediately with cold beer.
*Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 T paprika
2 T salt
2 T garlic powder
1 T black pepper
1 T onion powder
1 T cayenne pepper
1 T dried leaf oregano
1 T dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container. Yields about 2/3 C.
Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking,” by Emeril Lagasse and Jesse Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.