The heat from this fresh, creamy dip can be adjusted by adding more or less of the seeds and membranes in the jalapeno. This can be tricky because heat can vary from jalapeno to jalapeno and you definitely want a little kick here even if you’re prone to tongue slapping fits from just the slightest amount of capsaicin (which is good for you, by the way). When you sauté the peppers and garlic together at the beginning, this step helps blend the flavors and mellow the heat of the jalapeno. Also, if you don’t have smoked paprika, get some! The difference between smoked paprika and regular paprika is significant.
Add some sliced vegetables, chips, quesadillas or baguette slices around this colorful dip.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (include seeds and membranes)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ large red bell pepper, diced
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 medium tomato, cored and cut into 8 wedges
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- Heat olive oil in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add jalapeno, red bell pepper and garlic and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a blender or food processor, add pepper mixture, cream cheese, tomato, smoked paprika and salt.
- Blend until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt if necessary.
- May serve immediately or chill up to 24 hours before serving.
- Serve with raw vegetables, crackers, chips or baguette slices.