As our first Fat Friday blog post, we’ll look at one of my all-time favourite recipes. As part of our West Coast Road Trip Series, during our visit to Portland, we tried some the famous street food trucks. One in particular that stood out for us was the Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich from The Grilled Cheese Grill, they have 3 locations in Portland so if you’re ever there, check them out.
Now this one I am super excited about. It’s a little labour intensive but oh so worth it.
Now the one we had in Portland and all the recipes I’ve found on the internet are a bit of a cheat when it comes to the Jalapeno Popper part as this tends to be cream cheese mixed with grilled and diced jalapeño peppers. Understandable in a professional kitchen to save time, but I really wanted a grilled cheese with a proper popper inside, so that’s what this recipe is.
I’ve broken this recipe down into two parts, first the popper (which you can happily have on their own) and then the grilled cheese.
You can use any kind of bread or cheese you like for this one. Traditionally the bread would be sourdough (and was in Portland) however we’ve used crumpet bread here which is an enriched dough with lots of butter similar to a brioche which works really well for grilled cheese sandwiches. We also used two types of cheese, a sharp cheddar for flavour and a gouda for a creamy texture.
- 4 Large Green / Red Jalapeño Chillies
- 150g Cream Cheese
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons of plain flour
- 200g breadcrumbs
- 1 litre of vegetable oil for frying
- Salt and Pepper
- 125g of sharp cheddar cheese and 125g of gouda grated
- 8 slices of bread of your choice (crumpet bread in this case)
- Sunflower spread or buttery spread of your choosing
- With a sharp knife cut a slit down each of the chillies, being careful not to cut all the way through. Remove all the seed and pith from inside, you may want to use gloves for this part.
- Carefully spoon in the cream cheese until completely full, being careful not to widen the slit, and squeeze the opening closed so the cheese doesn’t leak out when frying.
- Now for the “pane” which is just the culinary term for breadcrumbing. To 3 bowls add the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Season the flour with salt and pepper.
- Coat each chilli first in flour then egg, and then breadcrumbs. You want to repeat the egg and breadcrumbs to get a nice thick layer. Set the chillies to one side.
- In a large pan, chip pan or deep fat fryer if you have one. Heat the oil for 5 mins. You can check the oil is ready by sprinkling a few of the breadcrumbs in if they start to fry/bubble the oil is ready.
- Place the chillies carefully in the oil by laying them away from you. Only fry 2-3 at a time depending on pan size, you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. Once golden brown remove from the oil with some tongs. Don’t use your fingers! Allow to drain on some kitchen roll.
- Now for the main event. Spread the sunflower spread on both sides of each slice of bread.
- Place a frying pan on a medium heat and place one slice down in the middle.
- Place 1 or 2 of the poppers onto the bread slice. You don’t want to fill the bread with too much popper or there won’t be any room for cheese.
- On top place a good hand full of cheese. Around 50g. Place a slice of bread on top and press down with a spatula.
- After a couple of minutes once the cheese begins to melt, flip the sandwich. It should be nice and golden brown on the bottom. Press down with the spatula again. We want to make sure the two sides are nicely squished together.
- Whilst the other side is browning sprinkle a small amount of cheese on top. Once it starts to melt flip the sandwich again and sprinkle a small amount of cheese on top again.
- Finally flip again to brown the final bit of cheese. You don’t have to do this part but doing so gives a nice cheesy crunch to the outside of the grilled cheese.
- Repeat the process for the other 3 sandwiches.
Nutritional Information (per serving):
If you got any great tips or variations on this recipe, please leave a comment below and get involved.
Look out for the next instalment of our West Coast Road Trip!