You could use any large chilli, but plump jalapeños have large cavities particularly perfect for filling with cheese. The cream cheese here is combined with coriander and salt, but you could simply fill the jalapeño with a chunk of cheddar before crumbing and frying. We’ve been told how well matched wine is to cheese, but what about beer with cheese? Its carbonated fizz cleanses the fat from the palate and allows the flavour of the cheese to stand out. A wheat beer is a fine choice.
- Yield: 12
- 12 jalapeño chillies
- 4 ½ oz (125 g) Ritz crackers
- 9 oz/1 cup (250 g) cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander (cilantro)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 eggs
- 5 ½ oz/1 cup (150 g) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 17 fl oz/2 cups (500 ml) vegetable oil
- lime wedges
- Cut the chillies down the middle, without removing or cutting the stem. Use a small spoon to scrape out and discard the seeds. Put the crackers in a food processor and blitz until coarsely crumbed. Tip the crumbs onto a plate.
- Mix together the cream cheese, coriander and salt, then stuff into the chillies. Press the cut edges of the chillies together to enclose the filling.
- Beat the eggs in a bowl and put the flour in another bowl. Measure 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) water into a third bowl.
- Dip the chillies in the water, then quickly roll in the flour to coat. Dip in the egg, then roll in the crumbs to coat. You can refrigerate these for up to a day before cooking.
- Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium–high heat. Add some of the cracker crumbs to the oil. If they sizzle on contact, the oil is ready to cook in. Fry the chillies in batches for 2–3 minutes, turning them over in the oil so they are golden all over. Serve with lime wedges.