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Yogurt cheese and Neufchatel smooth out the sharp heat of the jalapeno in this savory condiment that makes a mouthwatering spread for bread and crackers, a great topping for soups, or a base for a spirited salad dressing. If you have a toaster oven, roast the foil-wrapped jalapeno for 20 minutes before blending it into the cheeses. If you don’t, we recommend using the stove-top method of roasting the hot pepper (see Note) rather than heating a conventional oven.
This is a perfect topping for Black Bean and Chipotle Soup.
Yields 1 cup
- 1 medium to large fresh jalapeno
- ¾ cup yogurt cheese
- 2 ounces Neufchatel or cream cheese
- salt to taste
- Preheat a toaster oven or conventional oven to 400°.
- Wrap the jalapeno in aluminum foil and roast for 20 minutes, or until tender.
- Unwrap and allow it to cool for a few minutes before slipping off the skin and removing the stem end.
- If you wish, remove the seeds for milder heat. In a food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients and puree until smooth. Add salt to taste.
For a quicker preparation, place the jalapeno directly on a stove burner and center it to maximize contact with the flames. Adjust the flames to medium-high heat and, using long tongs, turn the jalapeno every 1 to 2 minutes to char and blister the skin evenly. Roast for 5 to 7 minutes. Place it in a covered bowl, allow it to steam for 5 minutes, and remove the blackened skin with a paring knife
If you don’t have time to prepare the yogurt cheese, replace it with ½ cup of plain nonfat yogurt, increase the Neufchatel to 4 ounces, and blend in 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. For variety, add 1 tablespoon of roasted garlic or 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro. Or try using 1 or 2 chopped canned chipotle peppers in place of the jalapeno.
PER 1.5-OUNCE SERVING: 80 CALORIES, 2.7 G PROTEIN, 6.6 G FAT, 2.8 G CARBOHYDRATES, 4 2 G SATURATED FATTY ACIDS, 21 MG CHOLESTEROL, 100 MG SODIUM, 0 1G TOTAL DIETARY FIBER
Reprinted from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special, Copyright © 1999 by Moosewood, Inc. Clarkson Potter/Publishers