February 06, 2006 - by grassonthefield
I cringe when a plate of nachos arrives at the table piled high to the sky with ground beef, olives (black and green), scallions (some of them decorative), salsa, sour cream (mounds of sour cream), all constructed, like a Jesuit church in late 16th century Rome, on a bed and foundation of the fountain and source of the eponymous dish itself: the chip, the nacho. It is a blasphemy. Most “nachos” sold in the bag are like comparing wonder bread to a baguette. Why start there? There is a simple way, beginning with the real thing, a deep fried corn tortilla, to make a wonderful treat.
You will need:
Take a bag of plain corn tortillas. Cut them into quarter sections, like a pizza. Take the pan, add some oil into the pan. Enough so that you can deep fry the tortilla wedges. Bring the oil to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Fry the tortilla wedges a few at a time in the hot oil. Don’t let the wedges overlap. You’ll want some tongs to turn the wedges over to cook the other side. Remove them from the oil onto paper towels to soak up excess oil. Then put the wedges into a deep bowl and add salt to taste. I prefer larger crystal salt for better flavor. Toss the nachos (=fried wedges) and the salt.
Heat the refried beans either on the stove or in the microwave oven. The beans are ready when they are the consistency of loose, well, paste. Taking a broad butter knife, spread refried beans, like butter, over one side of each nacho. Place the nacho individually onto a cookie sheet. When all the nachos have been spread with refried beans and placed onto a cook sheet, slice a thin piece of cheddar cheese and cover each nacho with the cheese. On top of each piece of cheese, place a single jalapeno slice.
Set your oven to a low broil. When the oven is fully heated, place the cookie sheets with the nachos into the oven until the cheese is just melted. Be careful not to over cook. Pull the nachos from the oven and enjoy with a simple beverage like a Spaten Optimator.
1) How long should I leave the wedges in the hot oil? Answer: drop them into the oil, take a swig of beer, turn them over, take a swig of beer, pull them out.
2) Should I use cilantro? Answer: no. But you could drizzle fresh lime juice onto the finished nachos.
3) Why deep fry the nachos? Isn’t that very unhealthy? Answer: no it is not. Why? Because we are deep frying at 400 degrees fahrenheit. So only the flavor of the oil gets absorbed. Trust me.
4) Should I use pre-sliced cheddar? Answer: we don’t like pre-sliced cheddar. There’s nothing like using the cheese slicer on skin already raw from the deep frying.