Photo by Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post
½ cup packed, grated Monterey Jack cheese (2 ounces)
1/3 cup whipped cream cheese
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
10 medium fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded and deveined, stems trimmed to ½-inch long
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
2 large eggs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing the pan
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush a baking sheet lightly with oil. In a small bowl stir together the Monterey Jack cheese, cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and cilantro. Fill each jalapeno half with about two teaspoons of the cream cheese mixture.
Put the flour on a plate and season with ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. In a small bowl beat the egg. Put the breadcrumbs on another plate and season them with the garlic powder and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Toss the seasoned breadcrumbs with olive oil to combine.
Toss each stuffed jalapeno in the flour, shaking off the excess, then in the egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess. Each piece should be coated all around in the mixture. Place the coated jalapenos, cut side up, onto the baking tray. Bake on the upper rack until coating is golden brown and crisp and cheese has melted a bit, 30-35 minutes.
Makes 6-8 servings
Serving size 2-3 poppers
Per serving (2 poppers): Calories 90 ; Total Fat 6 g; (Sat Fat 4 g); Protein 4 g; Carb 6 g; Fiber 0 g; Cholesterol 40 mg; Sodium 160 mg, Total Sugar 0 g (Added Sugar 0 g)