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?
Adding some fried Texas sweet onions will. Fried sweet onion strips perfectly balances out the spicy jalapenos and arbol crema. It’s a combination that was meant to be together.
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 or make a jalapeno crema instead, or even just ranch dressing. Giving your guests multiple options will score you bonus points.
- Try one of our 12 salsa recipes to help you master Taco Night.
To keep the crema from being too thin, it’s best to not use a blender. The high speed blade can make it almost watery. Instead, I use a small plastic cutting board and very, very finely mince the arbol chiles, then mash the garlic into a mush with a fork.
To finely mince the arbols, just finely chop them with a knife, then continue working your way back and forth over the arbols several times, until they’re chopped super-fine. Nothing to it.
Once you’ve got your peppers minced and your garlic mashed into a mush, stir them together in a separate bowl along with the salt and pepper. Finally, gently but thoroughly mix it into 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
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 3 tsp. chipotle powder
- 3 tsp. granulated garlic
- 2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 8 large jalapenos - de-stemmed, de-seeded, then cut longway into thin strips
- 3/4 medium sweet onion - cut in half, then sliced into thin strips
- 5 Dried arbol chiles - de-stemmed and de-seeded
- 2 cloves garlic - whole, unpeeled
- 16 oz. sour cream
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 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.
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