This is a plate of nachos a la Rachael Ray. If you’ve seen the magazine, you know that she starts with these, ‘The Classic Nachos,’ and moves through nine other versions adapted from the original by other folks, including her food stylist.
We eat plenty of nachos in our house and also when we head out to some restaurants that do them right. So, I like to think that we’re connoisseurs, even if I did have to look up the word in order to know how to spell it.
Curious as to how these stack up?
Making these couldn’t be easier. Chop some scallions and cilantro before you do the rest because the last thing you want are cold nachos.
The base is, of course, chips. I think the kind used matters. Baked, in this case, doesn’t work because they get soggy so easily. I actually prefer Utz, which is one of the cheaper brands. They’re light and very crisp.
Cheese goes down over the chips. Rachael calls for a package of shredded Mexican cheese blend, which is usually a combination of Cheddar, Asadero, Queso Quesadilla and Monterey Jack. The last three are chosen because they melt easily. That’s important.
Salsa gets dolloped over the cheese (if you’ve made it yet, be sure to use the Tangy Roasted Tomato Salsa that’s also in this magazine), then pickled and fresh jalapenos. I admit that I didn’t use the pickled jalapenos. I used pickled banana peppers instead. I just can’t take the heat, but I wanted to pickle flavor in there so I could remain as close to the recipe as possible. Forgive me and my wiener taste buds the substitution.
Then you broil the plateful. The rack is supposed to go on the top shelf of the oven. The nachos are supposed to broil for about three minutes (until the cheese is bubbling). You see those chips on the far side of the plate? That happened after 30 seconds. As you can also see from close up, the cheese has melted.
I am so, so glad I didn’t shut the oven door all the way, but left it open just enough to keep an eye on things. Three minutes would have given me a plate of charcoal.
Both Hubby and I were underwhelmed by this plate. The cheese, when it cooled, hardened back up to the point where the nachos stuck together. There wasn’t enough on the chips to make them anything but a tease. On the plus side, the chips were definitely not soggy, something mentioned on the page with the recipe. They stayed nice and crisp.
My vision of nachos contains the word goopy. Classic nachos include a salsa con queso, refried beans, fresh salsa (or even just finely chopped tomatoes), lettuce, sour cream and guacamole. Jalapenos if you want. That’s classic. Start adding the beef or chicken to up the ante.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
See the paragraph above.
- 7 cups restaurant-style round corn chips (about 4 oz.)
- 1 8 ounce package shredded mexican cheese blend
- ¾ cup tomato salsa
- ½ cup pickled jalapeno chiles, drained and chopped
- 2 tablespoons seeded and finely chopped fresh jalapeno chile
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup finely chopped scallions
- 1 cup stemmed and chopped cilantro
- Position a rack in the top shelf of the oven and preheat to broil. Arrange the corn chips on a large, heatproof platter in a single layer to overlap slightly. Sprinkle the cheese over the chips, then dot evenly with the salsa, pickled jalapenos and fresh jalapeno.
- Broil until the cheese is bubbling, 3 minutes. Remove the platter from the oven, dollop with the sour cream and sprinkle with one-third each scallions and cilantro. Serve the remaining scallions and cilantro in small bowls alongside.