Little Peppers Stuffed with Garlic, Shrimp, and Oaxaca Cheese
Test the collective machismo of your gathering with these delicious little peppers oozing with cheese, garlic, and sweet shrimp. I like to use different colors of small peppers—an ensemble of yellow güero, jalapeño, and red “lipstick” or other sweet miniature peppers looks particularly attractive. If you use jalapeños or güeros, they will definitely be spicy. Toritos take just a minute to make, and they can be prepared ahead and finished in the oven. The fillings can be varied according to the season; sautéed sweet corn is a very good addition.
Makes8 stuffed peppers
Cooking MethodBaking, Roasting, Sauteeing
Total Timeunder 1 hour
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Recipe CourseHors D'oeuvre, Tapas/small Plates
Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Gluten-free, Low Carb, Peanut Free, Soy Free
Taste and TextureCheesy, Garlicky, Hot & Spicy, Savory, Smoky
- 8 small pointed peppers, about 3 inches long, such as jalapeño, güero, miniature sweet peppers, or lipstick (red Fresno) peppers
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 1 green onion, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 4 ounces (about 10) medium raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped to yield about 3?4 cup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup shredded good-quality Oaxaca, Jack, or mozzarella cheese
- Mango Habanero Salsa (recipe follows)
- Pomegranate seeds or toasted pepitas (optional)
- Cilantro sprigs
- 3/4 cup firm but ripe mango, peeled and cut into 3/8-inch dice
- 1/2 cup Roma tomato, cored and cut into small dice
- 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
- 1/2 teaspoon minced habanero chile
- 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Wash and dry the chile pepper, leaving the stems on. Wearing disposable gloves to keep the hot oil off your skin, cut a slit down one side of each pepper. Use a slim, blunt knife or a tool such as the handle of a teaspoon to carefully scrape out all the seeds. Work carefully so you don’t break the pepper or dislodge its stem.
In a 10-inch sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and green onion and cook until fragrant, but not browned. Add the chopped shrimp, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until the shrimp are pink and firm. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the shredded cheese. The mixture should hold its shape. If it is too crumbly, turn it out on a cutting board and chop until it sticks together.
Use a small teaspoon to gently fill each pepper with about 1½ tablespoons of the shrimp mixture. The filling should be generous. At this point, if you wish, you can refrigerate the stuffed peppers, covered, for up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat an ovenproof cast-iron griddle or pan over medium-high heat. Lay a sheet of foil on the griddle and set the peppers on top. Roast the peppers on all sides until they are browned in places and are starting to get soft and wrinkled.
Transfer the griddle or pan to the oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the filling is hot and bubbly.
Arrange the stuffed peppers on a warm serving plate and top each with a spoonful of mango salsa. Scatter with the pomegranate seeds or pepitas, if using, and serve right away with cilantro sprigs.
For the Mango Habanero Salsa: Combine all the ingredients. Taste for seasoning; the salsa should be full-flavored, both sweet and very hot. You may need to add more lime juice or salt. This salsa should be used within 2 hours.
Fill with roughly mashed black beans and a sprinkle of cotixa cheese.
Fill with queso fresco and chopped fresh epazote (serve with pico de gallo).
Turn the stuffed chile inside out—roast the chiles unstuffed, then fill them with mango salsa and top each with a whole shrimp sautéed in butter and garlic.
2010 Deborah Schneider