The weather’s heating up, so your dishes should as well. Why not add some jalapeños?
Some like it hot. I like it really, really hot! As a native New Orleanian, who spent several years ensconced in Texas, I have certainly sampled my share of spicy and often fiercely fiery foods. And my favorites of these piquant eats always seem to feature the petite, yet power-packed, jalapeño pepper.
My passion for this particular pepper seems to be a bit more pronounced than for most, as I indulge darn near daily, probably plowing through the proverbial peck of peppers on a startlingly regular basis. Indeed, we even have a patch in our garden where we grow my precious peppers so that we always have a supply handy. (I also eat jars and jars of Trappey’s sliced pickled jalapeños.)
I find that jalapeños are perhaps at their most heavenly hot off the grill—having been nestled up next to a neat portion of dove, deer, duck, pheasant or filet and then wrapped in bacon. I also swoon over them stuffed with cream cheese and fried to golden perfection. But I also adore them added to everything from the classic chili and South-of-the-border style fare to everyday dishes including sandwiches, scrambled eggs, and even egg salad and coleslaw.
So, with Cinco de Mayo (the Mexican holiday on May 5) sneaking up on us, now is a good time for partaking in some hot jalapeños. Celebrate by serving up something splendidly spicy with a couple of chilled Coronas or frosty Margaritas to sip alongside. Olé and Cheers!
P.S. For those of you with timid tastebuds, dairy products—including milk and sour cream—tend to help extinguish the fiery flavor of peppers. Water only makes the burn worse by spreading the capsaicin (the heat-producing component) around in your mouth.
I first feasted on a variation of this coleslaw at a restaurant near the border in El Paso during the late 80s. It was positively addicting. So, it seems only fitting that this recipe comes from the El Paso Chile Company’s Texas Border Cookbook by W. Park Kerr and Norma Kerr. It is not the exact version but it is mighty close, and mighty tasty to boot.
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream (can substitute plain yogurt)
5 pickled jalapeño peppers, stemmed and minced (about 1/2 cup. You can add more or less to suit your fancy.)
3 tblsp. Dijon mustard
3 tblsp. sugar
2 tblsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 medium cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds) cored and shredded (about 8 cups)
Half a large ripe pineapple, cored, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
3 green onions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, jalapeños, mustard, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Add the cabbage and pineapple and stir well. Cover the slaw and refrigerate for at least an hour. (May be prepared up to a day in advance.) Stir in green onions and adjust the seasoning just before serving. Serves 8. •