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 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, I don’t like to use a blender. It can make it almost watery. Instead, I use a small plastic cutting board and very, very finely mince the arbol chiles (the arbols can stain your cutting board), then mash the garlic with a fork. Once that’s done, I mash them together in a separate bowl, along with the salt and pepper. Finally, I gently but thoroughly mix in the sour cream.
Finally, I like to use a home deep-fryer to make my Texas Toothpicks. It keeps the mess to a minimum and saves time. If you don’t have one, you can pan-fry them, or deep-fry in a cast iron dutch oven. Just be careful to monitor the temperature.
Texas Toothpicks with Arbol Crema
- Preheat fryer to 350 degrees.
- 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.
- Add half of the strips to the fryer 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.
- With a sharp knife, very finely mince the arbol chiles, then go back over them several more times with your knife to mince them as finely as possible. Chop the garlic up, then mash it to a paste with a fork.
- Add the minced arbols and garlic to a bowl with the salt and pepper, then thoroughly mash together. Add the sour cream and thoroughly mix, but don't whip it.