If you’ve been to a farmers’ market recently, chances are you’ve noticed baskets overflowing with peppers of all sorts, and this is a great way to take advantage of the crop!
Let me tell you- they are scrumptious, and I’m not the only one that thinks so. A sure sign that your dish is as good as you think is when strangers at a party go out of their way to track you down and get the recipe. This weekend I took a tray of these to my friend’s birthday soiree and they were a huge hit- not one, not two, but multiple guests inquired about the ingredients.
Grilled Pepper Poppers
Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 2 peppers). Adapted from Cooking Light.
7 oz soft goat cheese (I used garlic and herb flavored)
4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped seeded tomato
2 Tbsp thinly sliced green onions
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
1/2 tsp kosher salt
16 jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded*
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro
Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
Combine firsts 7 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well. Spoon cheese mixture into each pepper half. Place pepper halves, cheese side up, on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill peppers 5 minutes or until bottoms of peppers are charred and cheese mixture is lightly browned. Carefully pick up peppers with small tongs and place on serving platter. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Keep in mind that being jalapenos, these pack a little heat, and although I think the cheese really helps temper it a bit, they may be a smidgen much for some folks. I’m happy to report that the filling works just as well in other small, sweet peppers. Last week a co-worker gave me a big bag of banana peppers, so I experimented with a few of those, and they were definitely a different flavor, but just as good. Actually so good that I ate 4 of them within 5 minutes of taking them off the grill!
*Tip: Wear latex gloves when seeding or chopping hot peppers. You don’t want the oils on your skin or in your eyes- believe me, I’ve had firsthand experience with this, and it’s not pleasant! To remove the gloves after handling, turn them inside out and dispose of them in the trash can, then wash hands thoroughly.