Don and his wife love to cook. They enjoy new and different recipes and experimenting with interesting combinations of ingredients.
How Much Do You Like Jalapeños?
Do you like jalapeño peppers? I mean, do you really like jalapeño peppers?
Well, I do! I like them fresh, dried, pickled, canned, and sliced. I like them in salsas, sandwiches, soups, salads, casseroles, and as a garnish on just about anything.
I enjoy the way the peppers lie on top of my tongue and slowly start to burn. The burn continues down my throat and settles in my stomach, where it slowly spreads and jerks my whole body into high gear, forcing sweat to pop out on my brow and tears to well up in my eyes.
When I occasionally bite into that rare jalapeño that has a heat index closer to a habanero, I'll have to reach for the closest beer, soda, water—or whatever I can find to quell the fire in my mouth. And I like the way others laugh when I have to grab that beer.
How to Use Jalapeño Scraps
One day, when we were making one of my favorite dishes to take to a party, I had an epiphany.
I looked at the bar where I was working, and I suddenly realized how much of the jalapeño I was wasting. (Actually, I noticed because of the "polite" reprimand my wife gave me over the mess I was making.)
After a little experimenting, I ended up with this fantastic recipe that uses all of the scraps I'd normally throw away—the ribs, seeds, and stem ends. The resulting paste is great, and the spicy flavor will knock your socks off, literally!
Now that I have this powerful paste to use in my favorite spicy dishes, I am always ready to kick things up in the flavor department. Whenever I’m cooking a dish that needs a little kick, I can reach into the freezer and break off a small piece of my frozen paste, throw it into the still-cooking dish, and, well . . . wow!
I can proudly say, eat this paste at your own risk!
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
- 20 large, fresh jalapeño peppers
- 1 medium whole garlic bulb
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons black pepper, roughly ground
- Approximately 2 tablespoons water
- Trim the stem ends of the jalapeños. Set aside.
- Cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds and ribs, and set aside. (Reserve the greens themselves for use in another recipe.)
- Peel the whole head of garlic and chop up all of the cloves.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the extra virgin olive oil.
- Add the garlic to the pan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic.
- Add the salt and pepper to the pan and blend; then remove the pan from the heat.
- In a blender, add the jalapeño scraps (seeds, ribs, and stem ends) along with about 2 tablespoons of water. Blend for about 1 minute.
- Add the contents of the saucepan into the blender and puree for about 2 minutes, or until it forms into a thick paste.
- Transfer the paste into a plastic sandwich bag. Remove all of the air from the bag before sealing (lay the filled bag flat on the counter and squeeze out as much air as possible).
- Place the sandwich bag in a flat position in the freezer so that the paste will maintain an even thickness throughout (should be about a 1/4-inch thick). This will make it easy for you to break off pieces when you need them.
- When desired, remove the bag from the freezer and break off a piece of the frozen paste. Add the frozen paste to whatever dish you are cooking, and enjoy the heat!
- This paste is great for adding a spicy flavor to almost any dish.
- The paste will be ready for you any time. Just break off a piece from the freezer, and you're good to go.
- Take care when handling the final paste mixture. If you get your nose too close, it will actually take your breath away.
- When I'm cooking a recipe that calls for jalapeño, I often collect the scraps in a sealable plastic bag and make this paste two or three days later, at my convenience.
What? Is this paste too hot for you? People, this recipe is essentially pure jalapeño—with the addition of a full head of garlic! What did you expect?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.