Forced to choose, grilled cheese sandwiches would probably be my desert island food. There are so many things to do with them, between types of cheese and bread, additions like ham and roasted peppers and pesto. When I first came across a jalapeno popper grilled cheese sandwich, I knew I had to give it a go. Jalapeño peppers are roasted (I did mine in the toaster oven, to avoid heating up the house – you don’t need more room than that, anyway) and peeled, just like roasted red peppers, and sandwiched with cream cheese and grated cheddar – a deliciously gooey, and not too spicy combination.
To roast jalapeños, cut them in half lengthwise, pull out their seeds and membranes (this is where most of the heat is) and place cut-side down on a parchment or foil-lined sheet. Run under the broiler for a few minutes, until the skin blisters; transfer to a bowl, cover with a plate and let cool. When they’re cool enough to handle, peel off the skins.
Get yourself some good, sturdy bread – sourdough is a great choice. Make sure it isn’t too thickly cut, and spread two pieces with cream cheese. Lay roasted jalapeños on one side, and top the other with thinly sliced or grated cheddar. (Old cheddar is the best – it has the most flavor.) Close and butter the outside or brush it with oil – I like to pour some oil into a ramekin and crush a clove of garlic into it, then let it sit so that the garlic infuses the oil. Brush the garlicky oil on the outside of the sandwich.
I’ve seen several versions of jalapeño popper grilled cheese sandwiches out there – most use Jack cheese and crumbled corn chips. I don’t miss the corn chips, but Jack cheese would work well in place of the cheddar. Cook in a panini grill, or do it as you would a grilled cheese sandwich – in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat.
Cook until golden and crisp on the outside, and the cheese melts on the inside. Serve warm.
Think sandwiches should be for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Check out these creative sandwich recipes!