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Super nachos for Super Bowl Sunday. February 6, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in recipes, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. Who doesn’t love hot, cheesy, crunchy nachos? Who hasn’t been disappointed to be promised nachos and then served cold, gummy, sodden tortilla chips drowned in bright orange processed cheese product?

Never again. I found a super-easy, super-delicious recipe for nachos from Cook’s Illustrated that will give Super Bowl fans of every persuasion (and the rest of us, too) something to cheer about. Not only were they delicious, they took less than 10 minutes to put together. Cook’s Illustrated recommended serving them with fresh homemade salsa, fresh homemade guacamole, sour cream, and lime wedges, and I’m sure those would be delicious choices. But iced in as we are, I felt lucky to have the basic ingredients for the nachos and fresh salsa from the store, a luscious artisanal cilantro-based salsa, and sour cream, so that’s what I served up as dips when I made the nachos for lunch today. Let’s just say I heard no complaints from our friend Ben, and there wasn’t one bite left to share with our black German shepherd Shiloh or parrot Plutarch!

Here’s all it takes to make the nachos: a bag of white-corn tortilla chips (I used Tostitos bite-sized, one of our favorites), two bags (4 cups) shredded extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, two very large fresh jalapenos, sliced thin, and four large scallions (green onions), chopped. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a 13-by-9-inch Pyrex or other ovenproof pan, layer chips, half the cheese, and half the jalapenos; repeat. Watch the pan and don’t add too many chips, just two even layers.

We halved the recipe, since there were just two of us (even though one was our friend Ben), and used an 8-by-8-inch pan, which required 2 cups cheese, about half a bag of tortilla chips, and one and a half huge jalapenos; we used three scallions, since we love oniony flavor. Put the pan in the oven, uncovered, for 7 to 10 minutes, until the cheese melts, then remove from the oven, allow to cool 2 minutes, and sprinkle on the chopped scallions. Serve with dollops of sour cream, salsa, and guacomole (and, in OFB’s case, margaritas). 

Yum, what could be easier? I was a bit surprised that Cheddar rather than a shredded Mexican cheese blend was called for, but we love shredded white Cheddar, so I was certainly game, and it was luscious, browning just enough on top. “That smells SO good!!!” OFB exclaimed again and again. And he was right. The chips stayed perfectly crispy, the cheese was suitably melted and creamy, the jalapeno slices were just seared, and the scallions added the perfect tangy counterpoint. OFB, not a sour cream fan, loaded up on the salsas while I added a good dollop of sour cream to my plate to cool down the jalapenos.

Both of us thought the result was delicious. We had not one soggy tortilla chip, there was plenty of yummy, gooey cheese, and just enough heat and flavor to create a perfect game-time (or anytime) treat. OFB’s already begging for more. Next time, when I can get out of the driveway and into the grocery, I’ll add a few more toppings: fresh minced cilantro, sliced black olives, chopped tomatoes and red, orange, or yellow bell pepper. Maybe even a bowl of my famous refried beans as an additional dip. But even without any of that, these nachos were a super-simple, super-scrumptious dish. Serve some up on Super Bowl Sunday!

          ‘Til next time,

                       Silence

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