Lazy Day Nachos

Can we talk about nachos for a minute? Because I’ve got a rant in me, one I’ve been politely holding back, but one I need to get off my chest. Namely, what nachos are…and what they aren’t.

For all you non-Texans out there, let me explain: I have never had real nachos outside of Texas (except for when I make them myself). Nachos are not–ARE NOT–a pile of chips with some toppings thrown on top that are then nuked. When you dig into a huge plate of nachos, you never end up with a toppingless chip. Let me repeat that: NACHOS SHOULD NEVER HAVE A CHIP WITHOUT EVERY TOPPING ON IT. Yes, I’m shouting; this is important! 😉

About six or seven years ago, I lived with a very nice girl from Massachusetts. One evening, I decided I’d throw together some nachos for dinner and asked if she’d like some. The nachos I made were the easiest, simplest recipe for nachos I possess (like pretty much every Texan out there, I have about a dozen “recipes” for nachos). Her reaction? “These are the best nachos I’ve ever had!” See, she’d gotten used to the non-nachos that most people make outside of Texas. You know the kind: you take a big pile of chips, haphazardly throw some toppings on, and throw it in the microwave.

I could do a whole rant on why you should never microwave nachos, but my main complaint, the subject of this rant, is that nachos are topped one at a time. It’s that simple. Every chip is a nacho, and therefore, every chip has to be topped individually. Technically, when you broil them, you could pile them up, but the best way is to cook them in one layer on a baking sheet; if you like your nachos in a pile, please stack them after you’ve baked them.

Now, the toppings are less important to me: you can do anything you feel like, even if it involves something that seems to be anti-nacho. (I’d rather have nachos without cheese than without beans or jalapenos, for example.) And I can get pretty fancy in my toppings. But the recipe my old roommate declared was her favorite is below; I call it my “lazy day nachos,” because that’s what I usually make when it’s just me and I want something easy and simple. (I save the fancy topping combos for company.) I use canned beans and pre-shredded cheese, though when I’ve got some Tex-Mex beans lying around, I love to use those instead.

One important tip: always add tomato-based toppings (tomatoes, pico de gallo, salsa) after they come out of the oven. Otherwise, you’ll end up with soggy chips. If you really don’t like the cool temperature of your refrigerated salsa on top of your warm nachos, you can heat it up in the microwave before adding it to your nachos.

By the way, Hurricane Irene caused little issues in my neighborhood, though there was a lot of destruction elsewhere in the city and in the tri-state area. I was lucky; the biggest headache for me was the fact that one of my favorite running paths is now underwater: