Jalapeños a la Frontera

Jalapeños a la Frontera

Like Spanglish--the speedball mix of Spanish and English that is the language of the Texas-Mexico borderland--this appetizer recipe combines American and Mexican foods, all of which are favorites of Texana Jones.

1 medium can whole pickled jalapeño peppers*
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup flour

Drain the jalapeños and dry with paper towels. Leave the stems on the peppers. Make a small lengthwise slice in each pepper and scrape out the core and seeds. Stuff the peppers generously with the grated cheese. (Do all the peppers before going on to the next step.) Holding the pepper by the stem, dip each in buttermilk and then in flour. Place on a plate and chill at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator to set the coating. (This may be done a day ahead and chilled overnight.) Heat enough oil to cover the peppers; add 1 or 2 of the coated peppers at a time and fry until golden. Drain on paper towels and serve.

*Helpful hint: Fresh jalapeños can be used but are extremely hot. If you don't know where to find whole pickled jalapeños in your area, contact Vitore Foods of Laredo, Texas, (956) 726-3633, to learn who near you carries their La Costena brand.

Allana Martin is the author of the Texana Jones mystery series, which includes Death of an Evangelista, Death of a Saint Maker, and Death of a Healing Woman.

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Excerpted from A Taste of Murder by Jo Grossman Copyright© 1999 by Jo Grossman and Robert Weibezahl. Excerpted by permission of Dell, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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