Try Jalapeños Instead When You Crave Fries With A Spicy Kick

Everyone's taste buds crave a little variety from time to time. Which is why, the next time you're fiending for French fries or something crunchy with maybe a little spicy kick, why not try jalapeño fries in place of those starchy counterparts? They make a crisp and tasty snack, appetizer, or side dish and are an excellent option for parties, game days, or even a spicy date night.

They're also extremely versatile, adapting to your preferred cooking method easily. Fry them in a pan on the stovetop, in a deep fryer or air fryer, or even bake them on a sheet pan in the oven — any way you slice it — they're addictive. And they're delicious with an array of dipping sauces from classic go-to buttermilk ranch (or any of its incarnations— avocado, chipotle, or lavender ranch, anyone?) sour cream, blue cheese dressing, marinara, and even nacho cheese.

A favorite of award-winning, "One Day at a Time" and "Hot in Cleveland" actress, Valerie Bertinelli, these scrumptious crowd-pleasers are a milder riff on the popular and spicy deep-fried jalapeño bottle caps (which, for the uninitiated, are cut into coin shapes and fried with their pepper seeds intact). But Bertinelli swaps cornmeal for bottlecaps' thick beer batter and cuts the jalapeños into strips instead of coins.

How to make spicy jalapeño fries

Though you can employ your favorite cooking method, these mildly spicy strips are most commonly pan-fried. Begin by deseeding the jalapeños and cutting them lengthwise, into fry-like strips. Hot tip: Wear gloves to prevent the jalapeños' spicy oils from clinging to your hands and finding their way into your eyes.

Next, you'll need three shallow bowls: the first, containing flour, the second — buttermilk whisked with an egg, and the third, cornmeal. Other coating options can include breadcrumbs, panko, the aforementioned beer batter, or finely ground almond meal, and the inclusion of parmesan cheese and seasonings such as garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, or cayenne, and salt and pepper.

Using a wet hand/dry hand technique, first coat the jalapeños strips with the flour, then dip them in the egg and milk bowl allowing any excess to drip off before dredging them in the batter bowl. Once coated, carefully place them in about one inch of oil pre-heated to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. The strips should only take about a minute or so to fry. Do them in small batches to avoid overcrowding the pan and dropping your oil below its optimum frying temperature. Place finished strips on paper towels to drain and cool briefly before serving with your favorite dipper. Whether it's strips or coins, pan frying or air frying, cornmeal or beer batter, there's nothing quite like fried jalapeños and an iced cold beer to kick your tastebuds out of the doldrums.