Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese
Serving Size: Makes 2 sandwiches
One of the reasons I like going to certain kinds of bars or restaurants is because they have certain kinds of comfort food bar snacks. I bet you know where I am going with this – nachos, chicken wings….and one of the greatest gifts to the bar food lexicon: the jalapeño popper.
Who was the first person to realize that stuffing seeded jalapeños with cheese and a few other seasonings was creating a transcendent experience? I have a shortlist of food inventors I would like to find and thank – the creator of jalapeño poppers is one such person. I read the whole Wikipedia entry on the subject, but it was all about trademarks and such, and the person responsible was not clearly named. Anyway, he/she is clearly a genius.
But at home, stuffing and frying small peppers is not high on my to-do list….but making grilled cheese sandwiches is. And this sandwich brings all that is holy and special about jalapeño poppers between two slices of bread, and can be made easily and on repeat whenever the mood strikes.
I picked two cheeses for this bar-snack-meets-sandwich experience: Roth Jalapeño Havarti, which takes fresh tasting, beautifully meltable havarti and infuses it with the spicy kick of minced jalapeño peppers, and Roth Organic Cheddar, which adds a rich buttery tangy-ness. Cream cheese binds these more flavorful cheeses and the other ingredients together and adds the molten quality that makes a popper a popper. Bacon adds – well, it adds bacon.
And me-oh-my-oh-wow, did these sandwiches deliver. My older son, Jack came in when I was first making them, and I offered him a half. He declined, saying he was kind of full, then reconsidered and had a bite. And then he took the whole plate and disappeared into his room. This, my friends, is high praise from a teenage boy.
These sandwiches are gorgeous – and cut into quarters would make a very good game day watching party snack. Jalapeño Poppers 2.0 – game on.
This post has been sponsored by Roth Cheese. All the opinions expressed herein are my own.
Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese
- 4 ounces jalapeños (about 3)
- ½ cup grated Roth Jalapeño Havarti
- ½ cup grated Roth Organic Cheddar
- ¼ cup cream cheese, softened
- 4 strips crisp-cooked bacon, chopped or crumbled
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 slices sourdough or rustic country white bread
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- Salsa for dipping (optional)
1. Preheat the broiler.
2. Place the peppers on a rimmed baking sheet under the broiler, and cook for about 8 minutes total, turning them frequently as the side towards the flame gets bubbly and charred. When the peppers are all blistered place them in a small bowl and place a dishtowel or plate on top to cover. Allow it to steam, and when cool enough to handle, peel off the skin, and remove the stem and seeds. Roughly chop the peppers (use gloves or wash hands very well after with hot soapy water).
3. In a small bowl mix together the chopped jalapeños, jalapeño havarti, cheddar, cream cheese, bacon, garlic powder and salt and pepper.
4. Butter one side of each of the pieces of bread. Evenly spread the cheese mixture on 2 slices of the bread, on the un-buttered sides. Cover the sandwiches with the remaining slices of bread, buttered side up. Lightly sprinkle the top with salt.
5. Heat a large skillet with a lid over medium high heat. Place the sandwiches in the pan, cover, and cook until the bottom starts to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Uncover, and carefully turn the sandwiches over with a spatula, then press them down a bit with the spatula and cook uncovered until the bottom is golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Flip one more time, and cook until the bottom crust is fully golden brown and crispy, another minute or two.
6. Transfer the sandwiches to the cutting board, let them sit for two minutes for the cheese to firm back up a bit, cut in half and serve. Pass some salsa in a small bowl for dipping if you like.