I have to thank a little place called Lucca in Benicia, California for the inspiration for this appetizer. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I ordered their “poppers” and they came out wrapped in bacon! What? Bacon? On a popper? It’s genius! No breading and frying, just bacon. I’m not really sure what Lucca stuffs them with or how they are prepared in their kitchen so I just kind of winged it, hoping that I could recreate a memory. I don’t know if they were exact, but they were delicious. And gone in mere moments. Another great thing about this appetizer is that it can be prepared ahead of time and put in the oven when you are ready to eat them.
Bacon Wrapped Roasted Jalapeno Poppers
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded queso fresco
1 clove minced garlic
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 10 roughly equal piece
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (for brushing on peppers)
Preheat a grill, grill pan or griddle to medium high heat (grill is probably best since roasting peppers tends to give off smoke). Also preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine cheeses, garlic and cilantro. Brush peppers with oil and roast on grill, grill pan or griddle for a few minutes a side – just until the pepper skins blister and brown and “give” slightly when you squeeze them with tongs. They should still retain some firmness.
Once done, remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Slice peppers in half lengthwise, and cut out ribs and seeds. Fill peppers with cheese mixture, wrap with a bacon slice and place in an ungreased casserole dish or glass pan. Bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes or until cheese bubbles and bacon is done.
Jalapenos grow really well in the Bay Area. All you need is a sunny spot and some sandy soil. Don’t overwater your jalapeno as they like only like intermittent watering. Jalapenos are also surprisingly resilient in the cold. Here is a trick that Amelia came up with if you ever get jalapeno juice in a cut on your hand – wash it in milk. Really, it works! After hearing that trick, I used milk on my daughter’s poison oak. Guess what – it worked on that too! I started noticing immediate clearing of the rash after using milk. Have you eaten too many poppers? Try chasing that with a little milk too so you don’t have and digestive “side effects”.
As I think about Amelia’s simple, cheap and effective home remedy for jalapeno (and now poison oak) burn, I think of how dependent society has become on drugs for everything. Sure, you could grab some cortizone for your rash but wouldn’t you feel better using a little milk? No chemicals, metals or steriods. Just pure dairy. Next time you have an ache, pain or boo boo, maybe try researching some alternatives to the usual course of medications. Maybe discuss with your doctor what some alternatives would be to putting harmful chemicals in your body. (Sometimes I think drug companies come up with names of diseases just so they can sell us more pills.) One very effective, non-invasive, drug free, natural healing option is Reiki. If you get a moment, visit our friends at spreadaloha.org and see if you can find help with what ails you.