Done well, nachos are a wonderful thing. And when it’s so easy to do them well, it’s frustrating how often they are a disappointment.
Here are some tips, based on my experience of making nachos at home:
- Chips: Use the right sort of tortilla chips – plain, triangular, no fancy flavourings or shapes.
- Layering. Build your stack of nachos in layers, scattering toppings each time you add more chips. You want melted cheese throughout the heap fusing the chips together, not sulking in unappetizing puddles. And don’t overdress the top – this just steams the chips.
- Toppings: Grated cheese, sliced black olives, sliced green onions, finely chopped tomato, or pickled jalapenos – all good. Meat products not so much, and coriander leaves just burn, so save them for the salsa. Anything else is a no-go around here.
- Temperature: Don’t cook nachos at too high a temperature, or the top will burn before all the chips have a chance to crisp up. 375°F is about right. I’ve also used the gas barbeque, well heated then dropped to medium-low. Three or four minutes with the lid down resulted in perfect nachos.
- Dips: Salsa, guacamole, sour cream – either dolloped on top after taking the nachos out of the oven, or served on the side. You need to eat them more quickly with them on top – but that’s never been a problem…
- a large bag of plain tortilla chips
- 2 cups grated cheese (preferably a mix of cheddar and Monterey Jack)
- 1/4 cup sliced black olives
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 tomato, seeded and finely chopped
- pickled jalapeno slices (to taste)
- salsa, guacamole and sour cream (to serve)
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Spread a layer of tortilla chips on a baking sheet. Scatter lightly with grated cheese and whatever toppings you are using.
- Add another layer of chips and scatter with cheese and toppings. Repeat, gradually building a rounded heap, until you’ve used all the chips and toppings, making sure to finish with cheese and toppings.
- Bake about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the chips are browned.
- Serve with salsa, guacamole and sour cream, either spooned on top or on the side.