Spicy-sweet pickled peppers filled with salty feta cheese, flavorful chives, and deep fried are the perfect side dish to a lazy afternoon of football.
By Rachael Dart
It’s Fall, which means it’s football season, and my favorite time of the year.
You’ve had jalapeño poppers, yes? Cream cheese-stuffed, deep-fried jalapeños? This is their slightly more sophisticated little sister—the Peppadew popper.
What’s a Peppadew? Well, first of all, they’re a trademarked pepper, which is…really weird. Yes, “Peppadew” is a brand name, and no, they are not sponsoring this, and probably don’t even know I exist. That being said, their peppers are super tasty. They’re little, cherry-sized, pickled, red peppers that have a similar heat to pickled jalapeños (if you get the hot version of the Peppadews, though they also come in mild). The cool thing about them though is their sweetness. In this recipe, it cuts through the spice a bit, and balances out the overall richness.
I stuffed these with feta to add a little salty richness, and some homegrown chives to add an oniony-garlicky flavor. Annnnd then I breaded them and threw them in a pot of super hot oil.
One thing I will say about frying, you really need to watch your oil temperature. I like using a point-and-shoot laser thermometer to give super quick readings.
In case you can’t tell from the photo with the popper skewered by a toothpick, these things are tiiiiny. So while the recipe makes about 24, I can tell you from experience that they can be easily devoured by just two individuals. So, don’t be afraid to make more!
These are super simple to make, too. Because this is feta cheese and not cream cheese, you can pretty easily just use your fingers to pack the cheese-chive mixture into the little peppers. I found the hardest part to be the breading. But, that’s only because I am the messiest human on this planet, and managed to need to wash my hands after every couple of peppers. I don’t know how I manage.
- 2 and ½ ounces feta cheese (go for a creamier as opposed to a drier one)
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
- roughly 2 dozen hot Peppadew peppers
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ¾ cup Italian seasoned Panko bread crumbs
- vegetable oil, to fry
- Heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy-botomed pot (I like using my enamel Dutch oven) to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl, use a fork to mash together the feta and chives.
- Using your fingers, pack the center cavity of each pepper full of the cheese mixture.
- Roll each pepper in the flour, then dip it in the egg, then dip it in the panko. (I also liked to sometimes give them an extra light roll in the flour if they seemed like they needed it.)
- Carefully, drop the stuffed peppers in to the pot (do this in batches so you don't crowd the pot), and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oil and allow them to drain on a paper towel-lined plate prior to serving.