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Ruminations on the perfect nachos, and a simple guacamole recipe

Updated on July 11, 2007

Each nacho made with love

Nachos, made right

Most everyone from Mexico will tell you that there are no Nachos in Mexico. But, there are tostadas, which are crispy fried corn tortillas covered with stuff, which in my opinion is starting to sound quite a lot like the humble nacho…or at least the nacho as I make them!

So here it is, the secret to great nachos is to make each single nacho with care, and to perfection. I don’t now who started this whole pile of chips covered in cheese business. I get stressed eating a plate of nachos like this, and spend so much time thinking about cheese rationing for those last sad under the pile nachos , I forget to enjoy them!

The perfect nacho begins with an extra large corn tortilla chip, and this is covered with a scant spoonful of good homemade refried beans. Atop these beans is placed the meat—which should be either grilled marinated chicken breast, or a Mexican style shredded beef or pork—and caramelized onions, and sautéed sweet peppers. The sweet peppers should not be "tender crisp" they should be cooked, and soft. Now, a small spoonful of a thick ranch style Mexican tomato sauce, and a small pile of grated Monterey jack and mozzarella cheese mixed together, over the top.

Place them all on a big baking sheet, and into a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

These should be served of course with guacamole, sour cream, and fresh pico de gallo. You should also serve a very spicy tomato based Mexican table sauce for the chili heads, and a Mexican green salsa is always a welcome addition.

That's my style anyways, but I will grudgingly admit that this is open to interpretation. Add whatever you like, but think about the sum of the parts as greater than the whole.

Make each nacho with care, and devour the lot with relish (not the green kind, the enthusiastic kind) and enjoyment.

A simple guacamole

1 haas avocado

1 small plum tomato

¼ small white onion, minced

Lime juice


Guacamole should be pure and simple, and highlight the creamy goodness of a ripe haas avocado…of course getting a ripe haas avocado is generally the hardest part! To make sure you don’t end up with a "rock" come guacamole day, purchase your avocado a few days in advance, and let ripen at room temperature.

Mix all the ingredients together, and season with a generous pinch of salt, and the juice of about half a lime. Taste for balance and add more salt or lime as necessary. You can if you wish add come chili for heat, but I prefer it without, and I like spicy food.

Nachos get a bad rep as greasy spoon sports bar, mindless food, but if you take the trouble to do them right, they can be really really good.

Take some time, make them right, spread a little nacho love.

Or the other kind


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