SoCal is a great place to find premium Mexican products and I couldn’t helped myself to stock up on delicious poblano peppers. I used to grow them in my garden (back in the days where I didn’t travel so much because pepper plants are by far my favourite plants to grow) but they never came out as big and spicy as the one you find in California. Apparently, the more sun engorged the pepper plant is, the spicier it’s pepper will be. I learned this, the hard way, the first time buying some, when we briefly lived in San Diego.
Clearly, they aren’t even near as spicy at other peppers like the jalapeños or habaneros but they still got a nice mild kick to them. When ripen to their fullest, they turn to a nice bright red and called Ancho peppers, often ground in to powder.
So I had these gorgeous green poblano peppers, some cheese and some polenta (I ALWAYS have polenta in the house because it’s so versatile and delicious), in my pantry/fridge so here’s a fun Mexican/Italian fusion recipe that’s not only easy to make but that can also be made way in advance. Perfect finger food for an afternoon snack or for a game day, I really hope you enjoy it as much as I am right now *^_^*
- 2-3 poblano peppers
- ½ cup of all purpose flour
- 1-2 beaten egg
- 1-2 cups of panko breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs
- For the filling:
- ½ tablespoon of salted butter
- ½ cup of dried polenta
- 1¾ cup of water (cold)
- 2 tablespoons of cream cheese
- ¼ cup of finely grated and tightly packed sharp cheddar cheese
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Quick Salsa for dipping:
- 2 fresh tomatoes
- 1 clove of garlic
- handful of fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 green onion
- juice of 1 lime
- Salt & pepper to taste
- - Pre-heat the oven at 350, line a parchment paper or aluminium foil on a baking sheet.
- - Put the poblano peppers in the oven for 20 minutes.
- - In a small sauce pan, mix the cold water, the polenta, butter and make it warm (light simmering, no boiling), on the stove top at medium/low heat while never stop stirring.
- - Once all the liquid is absorbed, lower the heat to the minimum and constantly stir (because if you don't, it will splash) for an extra 2-3 minutes to make sure the corn is softened.
- - Remove from heat and add in the two cheeses, salt & pepper to taste. Mix well till it's uniform.
- - Either in a pipping bag or a Zip-Lock, pour in your cheesy polenta.
- - Remove the peppers from the oven, cut the top and carefully empty the inside, making sure not to break it. Do NOT remove the skin around.
- - Stuff your peppers with the cheesy polenta and wrap them in aluminium foil. Leave in the freezer to harden standing up for at least 1-2 hours.
- - Once hardened, slice the peppers in rings. Dip once in the flour, then the beaten egg and finally in the breadcrumbs.
- - Store in the freezer till you're ready, all these first steps could be done days in advance. When you're ready to eat them, heat up the oven at 400F and bake on a parchment paper for 25 minutes, turn them around and continue the cooking for an extra 15 minutes till they have a nice colour on both sides.
- - For the salsa, put all the ingredient in a small electric blender and blend. Serve with the breaded peppers.
A slight note on next time I make them, I’ll use the small poblano pieces from the cut parts of the peppers to add them to the polenta. They were great this way but an extra poblano kick inside the filling would make them even better. Let me know if you try it and don’t forget to add salt to the filling to make it nicely flavourful.