Because of this, I think I have unconsciously trained myself not to like any particular dish in any restaurant too much. Or at least only profess my love for it in the secret places of my heart, but betray no outward sign of excessive devotion lest the cruel restaurant gods strike that favored dish from the menu once again.
One such dish, well more of a snack food really, was jalapeño poppers. I could never have enough of them back in the days of my first job when stress ran high and spicy cheesy fried things had the ability to quell even the fiercest of financial industry jitters. Then, without warning nor worry for my stress that needed sating, each of the places I would go for them, from the rowdy American franchises to the kitschy cinema food stalls, stopped serving it. Just. Like. That.
And that is one of the reasons I love cooking. Because when restaurants heartlessly decide to toy with your emotional cravings, you can just march into your own kitchen and build your redemption on a mountain of melted cheese.
So this is my glorious yet slightly horrific sandwich version of a jalapeño popper. No hard and fast recipe because it is really very simple, and can be adjusted to suit one’s tastes. But I’ve outline what you need below, in case you want to follow me down this path.
Grilled Cheese and Jalapeño Sandwich aka The Jalapeño Popper Sandwich
- 2 slices of your favorite sandwich bread (I used French sourdough)
- A smear of mustard (a grainy one, or one of those potent English ones would be fantastic)
- A generous handful of grated mozzarella cheese
- Another generous handful of grated cheddar cheese
- Pickled jalapeño pepper slices (yes those ones in the jar)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- A good pat of butter
- Spread one side of one of your bread slices with mustard. On top of the mustard pile on some grated mozzarella cheese. Go on, don’t be shy.
- Place as much of the jalapeño as you think you can handle onto the cheese (I need to put more next time). Top this with another shameless pile of grated cheddar. Press your second slice of bread down over the whole mess.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 1/4 cup of milk until homogenous. Dip your cheese and jalapeño sandwich into the egg mixture, turning it over a couple of times and making sure the entire beast is coated.
- Melt the pat of butter on a non-stick skillet. When the bubbles subside, place your sandwich carefully in the pan. Fry on each side until both are golden brown, pressing down slightly on the sandwich as you do. Some melted cheese may leak out and this is absolutely OK. The cheese will form crusty bits on the sides of your sandwich that will make it all the more delicious.
Note: You can actually use any two (or more) cheeses you want – just remember to make is a good combination of flavor and melty-ness.
This is, simply put, a cheesy, buttery, spicy, oozing mass of audacity. Not for the faint of heart, be warned, but a (literally) shining example that you should never let bad restaurant juju, or any bad juju for that matter, get in your way (food-wise or otherwise).