While certainly associated with a standard catalog of ingredients, nachos—with all its parts thrown in one pan and then baked together—seem almost invented to be played with. Even in its most basic form (tortilla chips, cheese, black beans, salsa, guacamole, sour cream), the dish is already engineered for gustatory surprises and so, naturally, experimentation. Because no two bites will ever be the same, there aren’t actually any real rules for nacho ingredient ratios. More cheese? Why not. A bite that is largely loaded in guacamole? Go for it.
More and more, Americans have begun to tap into the full potential of nachos, taking this classic fare beyond its usual set of fixings. As perhaps expected, a lot of nacho innovation is concentrated in California, with Los Angeles leading the movement. There is, for instance, an LA Nacho Truck that solely sells twists on the classic nacho. Homestate—located on Hollywood Boulevard but calling itself “A Texas Kitchen”—serves a pretty simple twist on nachos called “Frito Pie In A Bag,” in which tortilla chips are replaced with the American corn chip. LA’s Tinga, whose “Cochinita Pibil Nachos” includes braised pork marinated with orange and achiote, and then topped with pickled onions, habanero salsa, Monterey jack, guacamole, and queso fresco. Except for the braised pork, the rest of the ingredients are only slight spins on the usual toppings—but they make a difference. Gus's also puts pulled pig on their nachos, but takes it a step further with their homemade bean topping comprised of with bacon, black beans, pinto baked beans, beer, jalapeño, onions, bourbon, garlic, brown sugar. Other places offer a more fusion cuisine inspired spin on their nachos, such as Brooklyn’s Kimchi Grill, which adds marinated Korean BBQ beef and spicy seared pork to their “BBQ Nachos,” as well as similarly Korean-inflected toppings such as fresh kimchi, green onion, and miso crema. Primo’s, an unsuspecting Italian restaurant in Boone, North Carolina, serve “Italian Nachos” that have a special cheddar-alfredo sauce with spicy sausage and jalapenos, topped with black olives, tomatoes, and basil.
This new take on the snack might appear to class it up, but this basic fact stays the same: making the dish remains really easy. Chips covered in melted cheese and whatever other toppings you pick are a conventional staple of any Super Bowl gathering, and you can easily spice up both the dish and your party just by adding a few unexpected ingredients. And when you do that, the world is your nacho plate.
Primo's Restaurant's "Italian Nachos"
For Nachos & Cheese Sauce:
- 3 oz. Chorizo Sausage (ground)
- 1/2 bag of White Corn Chips (roughly 8 oz)
- 1 1/2 c. Alfredo Sauce
- 1/2 c. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 2 T c. Sliced Pickled Jalapenos
- 1/4 c. Sliced Black Olives
- 1 Small Tomato or 1-2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
- 1 Clove of Garlic, Finely Chopped
- 1/4 tsp Dried Basil
- 1 T Olive Oil
- 2 T Shredded Parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Brown the chorizo sausage.
- Dice the tomatoes. Chop the garlic. In a medium size bowl, add the olive oil, basil, and garlic and stir to mix. Then add the tomatoes and toss to coat with the oil mixture. Set aside.
- Start the cheese sauce. Heat up the alfredo sauce in a saucepan on medium heat until it is hot enough to melt the cheese. Add the cheese and stir over low-medium heat until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Add the cooked chorizo and jalapeños to the cheese sauce. Use immediately, or keep warm over low heat.
- When oven is heated, spread the chips out on a sheet pan. Bake for about 2-3 minutes to bring out the flavor, usually you can tell they are ready when you begin to smell them. (Baking the chips is optional, but we think it makes the nachos better. You can use chips straight out of the bag and they will still be great).
- Assemble your nachos! We do it on a pizza pan, but feel free to keep them on your sheet pan. Pour the cheese sauce over the chips evenly. Spoon the tomato mixture over the cheese. Scatter the olives, then finally top with the shredded parmesan.
Easy Brisket Nachos
You can do easy nachos by dumping some cheese, beans, and guacamole on top of some chips, or you can do easy nachos with brisket with fresh garlic and fresh pico de gallo. Sure, leftover brisket works well, but if you want to get creative and cook it yourself, that's also highly suggested.
- 2 cups mixed pinto and black beans
- Jarred or fresh jalapenos, chopped or sliced
- Canola oil for heating up the brisket
- 2 cups shredded beef brisket (plus pan drippings as needed)
- 1 can enchilada sauce (enough to moisten brisket)
- Half bag of tortilla chips (double this if you want to serve more)
- 2 cups (or more) grated Monterey Jack and yellow Wisconsin cheddar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Chipotle hot sauce (Cholula or Tabasco should work)
- Minced garlic
- Fresh lime
- Pico de gallo (We suggest fresh and siple, something like Emeril Lagasse's recipe)
Heat up the beans in a pan and add in ground black pepper, chipotle hot sauce, minced garlic, and jalapenos. Add as much as you'd like, but take care not to overpower the entire dish.
- Preheat the broiler.
- In a very hot skillet, add a bit of canola oil and the brisket.
- Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes to get it a little blackened.
- Pour the enchilada sauce over the meat. If you have them, also add a bit of the pan fat from the brisket-cooking process (or a bit of beef broth works, as does a good stout like Guinness–just enough to bring the meat to a nice moist consistency).
- Stir to combine and remove from the heat.
- In a heatproof dish, evenly layer the tortilla chips, beans, brisket, and cheese and bake them for 3 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- Take the plate out and let it cool off for a moment, then add the pico de gallo.
- Squeeze lime on top and serve.