Candied Jalapenos

Jalapenos Pre-Candided
Jalapenos Pre-Candided

This recipe takes me waaay back (to you know, like 2005) when I was desperately trying to get on Next Food Network Star Season 2.  I wanted to be unique, I wanted to be different, and I wanted to do something that would make me stand out.  So I made:

Candied Jalapenos

Yep, that’s right.  I candied jalapenoes.  As one of my friends put it, “who woulda thunk it?”

But if you follow my thought process it makes sense.  The fruit of the chili (its green minus the seeds and seed pods) has a light, subtle, and in some cases, sweet flavor.  The problem is you’ve probably never tasted it since the heat rushes in and drowns out the other flavors. 

The key, then, to making the dish work is to remove the seeds and the seed pods so that the fruit can be enjoyed.  I had a video I shot once on how to do it, but I can’t find it.  Alton Brown also does it on one his shows, but I’ll do my best to tell you how.

Candied Jalapenos Anyone?

Before we get to the nitty gritty, let’s talk cooktimes.  I like my candied jalapenos firm and crunchy, but that may not be how you’d prefer them.  If you want them soft, you need to cook them longer.

The time to cook them longer is when you are boiling them, not when you cook them in butter.  Cooking them in butter will, of course, cause them to soften, but that part of the recipe needs to go quickly so the butter and brown sugar don’t burn.  The boiling step is a much less time sensitive part of the recipe.

Also, try to get fresher jalapenos without scratches on their skin.  Newer jalapenos are sweeter than those that have had time to sit around.

You will need:

  • 8-12 jalapenos
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar

First thing’s first…let’s prep the jalapenos.  While doing this, feel free to wear a latex glove to keep from getting jalapeno juice on your skin.  WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T TOUCH YOUR EYES.  The jalapeno juice will give them chemcial burns if you’re not careful.

Still with me?  Good!  Cut both ends of the jalapeno off and discard.  Then make a slit in one side.  Resist the urge to open the pepper like a butterfly, it will make the next step harder.

Now, using a very sharp knife, slip your knife into the slit in the pepper so that you can cut out the seed pods.  Begin a slight sawing motion and rotate the pepper around so that the blade can cut out any of the seeds and the white ribs.  It’s okay to take off a little of the green flesh on the inside.  Unless you just want to make nuclear salsa down the road, you can get rid of the seeds and the pods.

Cut the jalapenos into strips about 1/4 inch wide.

In a high sided skillet or a soup pot, bring just enough water to boil to cover the jalapenos.  Add a pinch of salt and boil the jalapenos for about 30 seconds.  This gets rid of any excess capsaicin and softens the flesh of the jalapeno.

Pour the contents of the skillet into a collander, discarding any of the cooking water.  Let the jalapenos dry while you melt the butter in the skillet.  Add the jalapenos back into the butter and cook for 10-15 seconds.  Then add the brown sugar and stir until you have formed a sort of quick caramel.

Serve along side a steak or fajitas and enjoy!

Thanks to lucianvenutian for the pic!

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