A few years ago a good friend of mine had an embarrassing accident involving jalapeno peppers. My friend (who shall remain nameless but, if you saw him walking down the street and shouted "Hey Tom", he would likely turn his head and look at you), was cutting up some jalapenos for dinner. It was summer; he was wearing shorts and got an itch. Not an itch in the arm or leg. Not an itch behind his ear or on top of his head. A more private itch. The itch that darst not speak its name. My friend acted without thinking. Next thing he knows he is in pain. A lot of pain. He jumps in the shower to rinse but the pain won't go away. In fact the pain didn't go away until many, searing, cringe-worthy, hours later. What can we learn from this story? Well, we can all learn to be careful when we're cutting hot peppers. Wear rubber gloves if you have sensitive skin, wash your cutting area thoroughly after you've finished cutting and don't touch your face - or any other sensitive areas - before you've washed your hands very, very carefully.
This Texas inspired recipe marries the heat of the jalapeno with the magic, healing properties of cured pork and cheese. A bit laborious but loads of fun and plenty tasty.
18 Jalapeno peppers
Sliced Friulano cheese (you can use any meltable cheese)
Sliced Prosciutto ham Bacon slices - cut in half
Get your special jalapeno holder ready.
Set out your ingredients. See the bacon?!
Lop off the heads of the jalapenos.
Remove the innards. Try not to split the peppers down the sides. Remember, the seeds are the spiciest part of the pepper so get all of them out if you don't like the heat so much.
Rinse the inside with water to make sure you get all the seeds out.
Poke a small hole in the bottom of each pepper. This allows the grease and humidity to drain out the bottom. You don't have to do this but the peppers taste more 'boiled' and less 'grilled' if you don't.
Roll slices of Prosciutto and cheese. You could also use thin sticks of cheese wrapped in ham.
Roll cheese and prosciutto ham together and stuff into the middle of the pepper. Fold a half piece of bacon over the top of the pepper and fasten it on top with a toothpick. As the peppers shrink in the heat of the barbecue, the toothpick will keep the peppers from falling through the holes in the pepper holder if they shrink a lot.
Put your peppers in your rack. In my case the peppers were some sort of odd, genetically mutated, 'super jalapeno' and were too large for the holes in my rack. I stuffed them in but they were a bit tipsy.
Cook the peppers on your barbecue, using indirect heat (approximately 350 degrees f) for as much as an hour. When the bacon's cooked the peppers are ready to eat. The longer you leave them the less spicy the peppers will be. Because I didn't want these to be too spicy I left them on the grill for an hour. (They look better if you cook them less - fewer wrinkles.)
Eat. Enjoy. Wash down with some drinks. Repeat. In this case our peppers were about as spicy as a 'hot' Buffalo-style chicken wing. You knew there was some hot involved in what you were eating but it didn't last for very long. Perfect.