The first time you make a recipe with jalapeños, there’s something that the recipe probably won’t say: don’t use the ones in a jar that you find on a shelf next to the pickles. Those are great on nachos, but you don’t want to cook with them. Which means you’ll need to know how to cut fresh jalapeños. So here it is.
Cut the stem off and split the pepper lengthwise.
If you want flavor, but not so much heat, remove the pulp and seeds. That’s where most of the heat is. Using a paring knife, cut the ribs loose from the inside of the pepper and pull the pulp out.
Make sure you scrape out any white pulp, and all the seeds.
Slice the pepper very thin, about as thick as matchsticks.
Bunch all the slices together.
Hold the slices with your fingertips tucked back, and use your knuckles to guide the knife. You don’t want your fingertips under the edge.
Use the knife to transfer the diced pepper into the bowl you’re mixing your other ingredients in.
If you do want the heat, you can save the steps where you remove the pulp and seeds. It starts the same; cut the stem off.
Okay, cut the stems off.
Cut the thin strips and stack them up, just like in the seedless version. Tuck your fingertips in and …
Hey, wait a second. Where are those fingertips?
Yeah, I was lazy. Everybody does it sometimes. Not everybody does it on the internet. So do it like in the first shot, not like the second one, and you’ll be fine.
By the way, if your nose starts running or your eyes water, like when you’re cutting onions … it’s okay to use your sleeve. Do not touch your face until after you’ve washed your hands. And … this is delicate … if you’re, umm, done with the Diet Coke you drank before you started, and it’s time to, umm, recycle it … wash your hands before and after.
I’m just sayin’.
I know I said yesterday that the diced tomato recipe was coming up. But I realized I had a couple more of these technique things to post first. So one more tomorrow, then two recipes using them Thursday and Friday. Check back, it’ll be worth it.
Want more like this? For more recipes like this, that you can hold right in your hands, and write on, take notes, tear pages out if you want (Gosh, you're tough on books, aren't you?) you might be interested in How To Cook Like Your Grandmother, 2nd edition, Illustrated. Or to learn your way around the kitchen, check out Starting From Scratch: The Owner's Manual for Your Kitchen.