According to recent news and historical weather reports, July 2019 is going down as Earth’s hottest month on record! Yes, it has been hot, but I did not really mind it after all that grey weather we had in the Spring. I can tell you my garden did not mind the heat either, I have a bumper crop of jalapeños! Not to be lost in the irony, jalapeños love the heat! I used to also grow scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, but those are just too hot for most people to enjoy, not to mention dangerous to handle.
Scotch Bonnets and habaneros are 200,000 – 300,000 Scoville units where jalapeños are only 3,500 – 6,000 Scoville Units, same as cherry peppers. Making them much more culinary friendly. So what do I do with a bumper crop of jalapeños? One way to tame and enjoy the heat is to mix peppers with something sweet, like in a chutney- such as peach or mango. I especially love a hot and spicy fruit chutney with fish such as salmon or swordfish, but it is also great on pork and chicken, too. Another way to balance the heat in dishes is to add salt, think of the Southern India Hot Pickle condiment. Mexican foods use citrus to balance the heat. Learning the balance is the key to enjoying the heat. Check out this cookbook if you are curious.
I always look to what I have on hand to see how to best utilize my ingredients. This time I am going to tackle this head on. I have a special client to thank that shared this secret with me, and we were together on an event earlier this July. Melissa is an excellent chef and truly the hostess with the biggest heart! We realized we have known each other for at least 16 years. Melissa introduced me to Stuffed Jalapeños, but in order to present them with panache, you need this special jalapeño grilling rack from Williams Sonoma and it helps to have a Jalapeño Corer to have perfectly hollowed peppers! Not to be outdone, I purchased the ensemble for myself, and I must say, I do use it annually and it is always a crowd pleaser and conversation starter when I bring my rack of colorful stuffed peppers to the party! I mix in fiesta peppers too for those that can’t take the heat!
And what beverage do you serve with this? Of course, Jalapeño Margaritas!! Last year I infused tequila with the peppers that were too small to fit in the rack. You slice and steep them in the tequila for at least 12hrs in the dark (overnight) in advance of serving and it will really elevate the margarita beyond just tossing a pepper slice on the side. I used a nice bottle for the eye candy appeal, such as the large bottles of patron, and I left the peppers whole so no need to strain them out. You can keep it for at least a week in your refrigerator if it lasts that long!
Don’t have your own jalapeño party ensemble? Call us, our chefs would be happy to cut and core your jalapeños for you and bartenders to mix up a spicy blend of margaritas too!
So enjoy the heat while it lasts! The long cold days of winter will be here before you know it!