Back in the days before I knew anything about personal limits, I was a waitress at a certain chain restaurant that was known for it’s servers’ “flair” pieces. A job where employees can wear so many 1″ buttons that the ones saying derogatory things about the reader’s mother are camouflaged? Sign me up! Unfortunately, I signed on just as the old uniforms were being phased out, and we were all stuffed into jeans and black Oxford shirts that were made of steel wool and hated breasts larger than an A-cup. Anyone who has ever seen me try to wear an Oxford shirt knows how that went; the third button down spent all of it’s time shaking it’s head at the upstairs neighbors, as if to say “don’t even try”. Between the neon red muppet hair, piercings, and off-putting uniform situation, I looked like an alt porn actress trying to go legit. That look in tandem with an extremely short fuse (not surprisingly) yielded sucky tips and my career as a waitress ended in a fiery blaze.
Though every shift brought me dangerously closer to cracking, a few good things came out of this job. I learned that I can’t participate in enough substance abuse to make food service fun, stuffing my chesticles into a button-down shirt is only good for getting phone numbers, and fried jalapeños are pretty close to being the best thing ever. They used to be served in a huge bowl as an appetizer, but were removed from the menu sometime in the early 00’s and resurrected as a burger topping in recent years. Coming from a very health-conscious upbringing, this crunchy, fried pile of yum that made my earwax liquefy ended up being one of those things that we identify as oddly iconic of our “probably should have know better” years. With my 30th birthday giving me the stink-eye all the way from March, I’ve been reflecting on my 20’s over the past few weeks… mostly while staring into a condiment-filled fridge, hence this recipe.
Pro tip: Sliced jalapenos can be found at Papa John’s. Just ask for some on the side and you’ll get a full ramekin (or 12).
18 packets of saltines (36 total = 3/4 cup of the breadcrumbs if you’ve already made it)
5 tubs of jalapeño slices (about 1 cup)
1 packet parmesan cheese or pizza seasoning (depending on preference)
1/2-3/4 cup of oil
- Blend saltines and seasoning until finely ground and place in the ziploc bag.
- Beat egg in the small bowl
- Dump jalapeño slices into the egg bowl and stir until all slices are coated
- Place egg’d slices into the plastic bag, shaking off excess egg
- Seal the bag of crumbs and jalapeño slices, then shake until slices are coated
- Pour about 1/2″ of oil into the pan and heat until you’re sure it could give you a first-degree burn. Still not buying a thermometer over here.
- Fry breaded jalapeño slices, turning them over occasionally
- When the breading darkens and/or the jalapeño starts to shrivel, it’s done. Fork/spatula it onto a paper towel and let the extra oil seep out
Dee-$%*&ing-licious with ranch dressing, but what isn’t?