Friday, 20 March 2015

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Holy crap you guys.

I made this sandwich.  This sandwich.  Then I proceeded to think about it and crave it for DAYS afterward.  I'm totally obsessed.

My job for the day was to pick up one furry puppy, and one sassy little girl and hang out with them until my brother got home from work.

Pretty solid job.

And - being responsible for said puppy, girl, and brother - I also had to figure out what to feed them.

My kid brother digs spicy food.  While I'm not into the esophagus-melting, eye-tearing, cough-inducing heat that he likes, I'm not opposed to a little spice to make things interesting.

And I know for sure that my brother's wife doesn't like jalapeños, so really - it kind of ended up being a no brainer. 

Last year, I made this killer jalapeno popper pizza that was surprisingly awesome and figured - why not put it into a sandwich?

It only takes a few ingredients - but a little bit of patience.  So stay with me.  It'll be worth it - I promise. 

I absolutely insist that you use Texas Toast Sandwich bread.  I mean - you could totally use regular bread, but I feel like the Texas Toast bread is where it's at for this sandwich.
First things first, I recommend roasting the jalapeños.  It makes the flavor just that much more intense. 
To do this, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place the jalapeños on the baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so.  You'll hear the jalapeños making a popping sound when the skins pull away from the pepper.
After the skin is bubbled all the way around the pepper (about 20 minutes), put the peppers in a zip-loc bag and close.  Let cool for about 10 minutes, or cool enough to handle.
Then peel off the skin, cut in half, scrape out the seeds and membranes and dispose chuck out with the skins.  For more heat, you can leave some of the seeds (the seeds and membranes are where the heat truly is).  Mince up the remaining flesh of the pepper. 
Like I said.  It takes some time, but it's seriously worth it.

Here's the thing.  I don't have any measurements for you.  I kinda just eyeballed combining the jalapeno and cream cheese until I thought it looked good.

Once the cream cheese is combined with the jalapeno, take two pieces of bread and two slices of medium (sharp would be good too!) cheddar cheese and put one on each piece of bread.
Then spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the cheddar.

The slap those two pieces of bread together.
Before I continue - there are two things you need to know.  Then pan should be well-heated on medium low (like, number 3 if you've got numbers on the cooktop)...  This will ensure that the bread gets toasted, the cheese gets gooey, but the bread doesn't dry out.  It takes a little longer to cook, but it's worth it.
The second thing you need to know is that the bread should be buttered all the way to the edges.  Make sure the butter is super-soft and spread, spread, spread to the edges.
Then drop that sandwich onto the pan and let it cook.  Don't fiddle with it too much.

After a few minutes, lift up the edge and check to see if it's golden and flip it over.
However, it's totally my personal preference to have my grilled cheese sandwiches super-golden and crisp, but not hard.

Once both sides have been cooked to golden, I flipped it one more time, just to make sure the middle was hot and the cheese was gooey.

Whew - check out that cheesy, gooey, deliciousness.

The sandwich is creamy, cheesy, a slight hit of spiciness from the pepper and the bread is perfectly toasted and buttery-crisp.
And on my brother's sandwich?  I actually cut a couple extra jalapeños (roasted) in half and flattened it out and slapped them in the middle. 
And my niece's sandwich?  She didn't get any jalapeños at all and totally CRUSHED her cream-cheese, cheddar grilled cheese sandwich.  Which would be awesome also. 
You know what would also be awesome?  Bacon.  Bacon on this sandwich would also be awesome.  I mean, you're already there, why not go just a little further.
Really - the possibilities to make this totally a personalized sandwich are endless.  Why don't you give it a try?!
xoxo - Heather

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese
Jalapeno Peppers
Texas Toast Sandwich Bread
Spreadable Plain Philadelphia Cream Cheese
Medium Cheddar Cheese, sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the jalapeno peppers on the lined sheet.
  2. Roast the peppers in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so, until the skin is bubbled away from the pepper on all sides.  Remove the peppers from the oven and place in a zip-loc bag.  Close the bag and allow the peppers to cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
  3. Start heating a frying pan on medium-low heat.
  4. Remove the peppers from the bag and peel off the skin.  Discard.
  5. Cut the peppers in half and scrape out the membranes and seeds.  Discard.  (you can keep some of the seeds to add extra heat if desired)
  6. Dice the peppers and add to the cream cheese.  Use your judgment to decide how much jalapeno and cream cheese you want.  Combine well.
  7. Place one piece of sliced cheddar on each piece of bread.  Spread as much cream cheese mixture as desired on the cheddar cheese.  Put the two pieces of bread together.
  8. Lightly butter the top piece of bread, making sure the butter is spread all the way to the edges of the bread.
  9. Place the sandwich on the frying pan, buttered side down.  Butter the top piece of bread all the way to the edges of the bread.
  10. Let cook until golden, flip and cook the opposite side until golden.

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