Atlanta restaurant reviews, culinary news, and gluttonous gossip by admitted foodaholic Serina Patrick

Jalapeno Popper Panini


My friend and colleague MC has become addicted to Pinterest. Scrolling down her page, she showed me her lovely collection of photos and ideas, many sharing a soothing aqua blue theme.

Then I saw it….a closeup of a gooey grilled cheese. Food porn. I suddenly had an interest in Pinterest.

Upon closer inspection, it was a grilled cheese made with cheddar, cream cheese, and jalapenos, like an inside out jalapeno popper. I turned to google for specific recipes and found several variations, some including bacon. I jotted down some notes and stopped by Publix for the standard ingredients, then Trader Joe’s for a decent loaf of bread.

Here’s my version:

4 slices sourdough bread
Light cream cheese
Shredded light cheddar
2 large fresh jalapenos
4 slices of bacon, cooked
Unsalted butter

Roast the jalapenos on foil in a 500 degree oven until the skin is charred, about 10 minutes, and let cool. Spread some cream cheese on each slice of bread, then sprinkle with cheddar, to taste. Cut the jalapenos into quarters lengthwise, removing the stems (*and the seeds if you prefer less spice…see note). Layer the jalapenos and bacon in between the pieces of bread. Melt butter in a non-stick skillet and heat the sandwiches, pressing them with the back of your spatula, until they are golden brown.

Makes 2 paninis. Serve with fancy chips like the Trader Joe’s Ridge cut sweet potato chips shown snuggling up to the panini in photo.

The sandwiches were delicious, tasting just like the infamous snack served at restaurant chains across the country. However, next time I’ll use more cheese….a lot more cheese.

*Note regarding jalapenos: some are hotter than others. I left all of the seeds in the 2 panini I made for myself and LC. His was smoky with a hint of spice, mine was lip-incinerating!


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