Fresh Food Thursday | Baked Jalapeno Poppers

I make these every few weeks or so, usually because my husband requests them (there goes my original goal of make something new every week and blogging about it!). These little guys are just so flavorful and delicious — they’re a real crowd pleaser! So it’s high time they finally make it to Fresh Food Thursday!

Baked Jalapeno Poppers
by Emeril Lagasse on Emeril Live

12 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise, stems, seeds and membranes removed (I like to keep a seed or two in some peppers for a surprise of added heat. ALSO, small farmer’s market peppers are much more flavorful than giant grocery store peppers. Just something I’ve noticed.)
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack or part skim mozzarella cheese (I also like extra sharp cheddar)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or less, to taste
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
8 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
1 cup panko crumbs, or fine dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, cumin, and cayenne (sometimes I don’t use cumin or cayenne, just Emeril’s Essence).
Spread roughly 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture into the middle of each jalapeno half. Fill all peppers first, to ensure there’s enough cheese mixture for each popper.

In one small bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, and 2 teaspoons of the Essence.
In second bowl, combine the flour and 4 teaspoons of Essence.
In a third dish (A bread pan works best to shake the little guys around for an even coating of crumbs), combine the bread crumbs and 2 teaspoons of Essence.
One at a time, dredge in the flour, dip into the egg mixture, then coat with bread crumb mixture. Place the coated peppers, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet and bake until the filling is runny and the crust is golden, about 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately with your choice of dips or sauces. I prefer sour cream (a must!), homemade guacamole, and fresh salsa.

*Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):
Yield: about 2/3 cup
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.


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