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Snack attack: once you pop

Susan Jung

 

Jalapeno poppers are one of those snacks you might be embarrassed to be seen eating, at least if you have a reputation for enjoying good food. They're kind of trashy, insofar as they're cheese-stuffed (and we're not talking unpasteurised, artisanal cheese) jalapeno chillies that are breaded then deep-fried.

However - like many a fried snack - they're strangely delicious. And they're the perfect bar snack: they can be made quickly (most bars buy them frozen, and they only need to be deep-fried), eaten with your fingers, and their spicy saltiness means they'll probably make you want to drink all the more.

Poppers are a far cry from chiles rellenos, one of the ultimate versions of the "stuffed chillies" (the literal translation) they are said to be inspired by. Chiles rellenos involve a lot of work: the chillies (usually the mild, subtly flavoured poblano) are roasted, skinned, seeded and then stuffed with anything from cheese to picadillo (spiced meat) before being battered, fried and sauced. Jalapeno poppers have no such refinements: they're slit open, the seeds removed, then they're stuffed (usually with a mixture of cheese, and sometimes with the addition of minced meat or bacon), breaded and fried. They're at an entirely different level from really good chiles rellenos - but that doesn't mean they can't be delicious, in an entirely different way.

 

 

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