Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese
with pear and celery slaw
This spicy, creamy grilled cheese is like a jalapeno popper in sandwich form. Serve it with a fresh, crunchy slaw on the side that will help to balance the creaminess and heat.
Smarts: If you want to keep the spice to a minimum, slice the jalapenos lengthwise and remove the seeds first. If you want even more spice, keep the seeds in and try these sandwiches with spicy pepper jack cheese.
- Cheese, white cheddar or provolone - 8 oz , shredded (sub pepper jack for even more spice)
- Garlic - 2 cloves , chopped
- Jalapenos - 4 , thinly slice; cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds before slicing for less heat
- Butter - 2 Tbsp
- Bread, sliced sourdough - 8 slices
- Cream cheese - 2 oz
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Celery - 3 stalks , julienned
- Pears, Asian - 1 , julienned
- Lemon juice - 1 Tbsp
- Vinegar, apple cider - 1 Tbsp
- Mustard, Dijon - 1 tsp
- Maple syrup - 1 tsp
Cheese / Garlic / Jalapenos - Prep as directed. (If you’d like more heat in the jalapenos, leave the seeds in. For less heat, cut in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds before slicing into thin pieces.) Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Make slaw - Combine celery, pears, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, and some salt.
Butter one side of all slices of bread. Lay out bread on a sheet pan or cutting board, buttered-side down.
Next, warm cream cheese in the microwave just until soft, ~30 seconds. Stir in garlic and cheese. Spread cheese mixture evenly over half the slices of bread. Set aside.
Heat a large griddle or skillet over medium heat. Add cooking oil and then jalapeno slices in a single layer. Sear jalapenos until tender and starting to brown in spots, 3 to 4 minutes. Season lightly with some salt and then flip and sear on the other side.
Spread cooked jalapenos out on top of cheese mixture, leaving griddle on medium heat.
Top sandwiches with remaining slices of bread, buttered-side up.
Place sandwiches onto heated surface and cook on both sides until the bread is golden and the filling is melted, pressing down gently throughout the grilling process. It should take 4 to 5 minutes per side, depending on the heat of the pan.
Serve sandwiches with slaw on the side. Enjoy!