Zesty Peperoncini Poppers

I’ve been on an appetizer kick lately, first the Cheesy, Bacon-Wrapped Dates, and now these peperoncini poppers.  I think it might be the summer heat, but I’m just craving small portions of everything…

Zesty Peperoncini Poppers
Makes 36-38 servings.

Adapted from Trisha Yearwood’s recipe for “Jalapeño Bites” from Home Cooking With Trisha Yearwood.  See the Resources page for more information.

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups pepper jack cheese, finely shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely shredded
4 large eggs
1/2 cup jarred, golden peperoncini peppers, chopped
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried parsley

Oil for frying

Side-note:  I made several substitutions and additions to this recipe.  One was to use peperoncini peppers instead of jalapeños.  They are milder, and I really like the taste of them.  If you prefer, use the jalapeños.

I like peperoncini peppers on pizza, salads, you name it...

Beat one of the eggs in a medium bowl.  Fold in the cream cheese, pepper jack cheese, and Parmesan cheese.  Add the peperoncini peppers.

Mix the peppers into the rest of the filling. If you prefer more heat, use jalapenos instead.

All mixed together.

Combine the plain bread crumbs, panko bread crumbs, and dried parsley in a large dish, suitable to coat the poppers with breading.

I really enjoy the crispiness of panko bread crumbs, and I add parsley whenever I bread anything!

It looks like a crunchy desert...

Beat the remaining three eggs in a separate dish.  Place the dishes side-by-side to create a breading station.

Shape the cream cheese/peperoncini filling into small balls using a 1/2 tablespoon as a guide.  Roll each ball into the bread crumb mixture, then into the beaten eggs, then back into the bread crumb mixture to double coat it.

One little popper in the breading.

Transfer the poppers to a plate or baking sheet.

The tray of poppers - ready to hit the oil.

Fry the poppers in hot oil.  The original recipe calls for baking the poppers, but with the cheese I added, that wasn’t feasible.  I attempted to fry the poppers on the stove top, but next time, I will just break out the deep fryer.  In this case, that seems to be the best way to do it.  Unfortunately, inclement weather was working against me!