Texas toothpicks are Texas’s answer to the onion ring. What could be better than a sliced jalapeno, breaded, fried crispy, then dipped in an arbol infused crema?
We figured adding some sweet onion rings to the mix would do it. Adding in some sweet onion strips will give your less adventurous guests an option.
The trick to this recipe is to cut the jalapenos into 1/4 inch sticks (cut longways), then cut the sweet onions into sticks of the same size.
The arbol crema can be pretty hot. If you want to tone it down, reduce the number of arbol peppers, or switch it out for a jalapeno crema, or even just ranch dressing. Giving your guests multiple options will score you bonus points.
To keep your crema from being too thin, first blend the arbol peppers with as little sour cream as you can and still get them fully pureed, then mix the balance of the sour cream in by hand.
Finally, I like to use a home deep-fryer to make mine. It keeps the mess to a minimum and saves time. If you don’t have one, you can pan-fry your Texas Toothpicks, or deep-fry in a cast iron dutch oven. Just be careful to monitor the temperature.
Texas Toothpicks with Arbol Crema
- Add all dry ingredients to a wide, shallow bowl and mix well with a wire whisk. In a separate bowl, add the eggs and beat until well combined, then mix in the buttermilk.
- Dredge the onion and jalapeno strips in the egg/buttermilk mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture.
- Heat fryer to 350 degrees. Add half of the strips to the basket, then gently lower into the oil. Shake gently to ensure all strips settle into the oil. Fry for two minutes, then remove to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with the other half of the strips.
- Bring a pot of water to a simmer and add the garlic and arbol chiles. Let soak for 15 minutes. Remove and strain very well.
- Add the chiles, garlic, salt, black pepper, and just enough sour cream to help everything blend well. Puree. Pour into a bowl, then gently stir in the remaining sour cream until fully incorporated.