Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cheddar Shrimp Jalapeno Poppers with Pancetta

A jalapeno half makes an impeccable vehicle for food items that are often used for fillings in appetizers or side items.  One of my favorite things to bring to parties is my crab - stuffed mushrooms, but my husband doesn't like mushrooms.  Many people don't like mushrooms.  I have also loved serving up shrimp and fontina mini fillo shells to guests in the past when I've entertained.  But with so many people trying the Gluten Free and Paleo thing, that has become an iffy item.
I had 3 of my close girlfriends over last week to eat dinner, and these were a huge hit with all 3 as a starter for dinner.
Even if you leave out the pancetta, it's still great with the shrimp and white cheddar.  You can use any white cheese.  And remember to use wild - caught, sustainable American shrimp.  Gulf shrimp is great.  Another great thing about cooking with jalapenos....10 peppers cost about a dollar, yielding 20 bites to share!  You can also substitute bacon for pancetta.  I just love the pancetta that I find because it is infused with garlic and black pepper.  Pancetta is just like bacon, but it isn't smoked.  Both are cured and both are made with pork belly. 

Ingredients:
  • 10 jalapenos, halved with seeds and ribs removed
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • Shredded Ballyshannon cheese (Irish white cheddar)
  • Deli sliced pancetta
  • Tony Chachere's creole seasoning
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Chop the shrimp with a large cleaver until it is similar to a paste.  If you have a food processor, you can probably use it for the same effect.  Spread it out on top of your cutting board in a thin layer.
  3. Top the shrimp with the shredded cheese.
  4. Use a small spoon to scoop up a little bit of the cheese and shrimp mixture.  Fill the halves.
  5. Lay on top of a parchment of foil lined pan.
  6. Cut each pancetta slice into 4 strips that will fit the top of each jalapeno half.
  7. After placing the pancetta strip on top, add more shredded cheese.  
  8. Sprinkle some Tony Chachere's on top.  Cook for 20 minutes.

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