Monday, April 9, 2012

RECIPE: Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Recipe (a.k.a. Alligator Bites)

My brother-in-law Mike and I are basically polar opposites, but we share one very important belief:


I mean, when you see the words "bacon-wrapped" in a recipe, you know it's a guaranteed win, right?

Anyway. Mike served these at a party last month, and I stole the recipe and have pretty much found every possible excuse to make them. The recipe is short and simple, but it also presents several opportunities to burn yourself, so don't skim over the disclaimers in your rush to consume bacon.

You'll need:
  • one pack of bacon (I like the new Oscar Meyer Selects nitrate- and nitrite-free kind!)
  • a bunch of fresh jalapenos (Short and fat work best. I think I used eight in the above photo.)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (I like Philadelphia cream cheese!)
  • 1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning

STEP 1: Slice the stems off the jalapenos, cut them lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds and meaty stuff. 

STEP 2: In a bowl, mix the cream cheese and Old Bay. Scoop the cheese mix into the hollowed-out jalapenos. 

STEP 3: Wrap each jalapeno with a slice of uncooked bacon and secure it with a toothpick.

STEP 4: Place a metal grate (I used the one from the toaster oven) over a baking pan or a casserole dish. Lay the wrapped jalapenos on the grate, and cook at 400 degrees until the bacon browns to your liking. You can also grill them -- that's how Mike made them, but I'm too lazy and pyrophobic to cook outside.

  • When you're chopping fresh jalapenos, you might want to wear gloves, especially if you're using an extra-spicy variety. Don't touch your eyes. Be careful if you have asthma. The best idea is to trick someone else into doing this part of the job. It sucks! 
  • If you ignore the above disclaimer and end up with jalapeno burn-juice on your hands, wash with dishwashing soap, then soak your hands in lemon juice for a few seconds (make sure you get the lemon juice under your nails, too!), then once more with the dish soap. Lick your finger as a test before touching your eyes.
  • DO NOT use a cookie sheet under the grate! The bacon fat will drip down through the grate, so use a fairly deep dish or baking pan (like a brownie pan) to keep the fat from burning your hands or turning your oven into a box of fire.
  • Control yourself when it comes out of the oven. The cheese is hot lava for the first minute or two.
As long as you follow these guidelines, you'll enjoy injury-free deliciousness.

P.S. If you like gardening, jalapenos are ridiculously easy to grow! 

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