I get to do it all as Dealbreaker Chef de Cuisine, and for that I'm obviously grateful. But like anyone, I have unfulfilled dreams. I'm mortal, after all (though anyone who's eaten my avocado, bacon, egg and cheese on fresh-baked sourdough bread might beg to differ).
If you ask most of my fellow chefs who they most want to cook for, you’d get the expected responses: heads of state, famous authors, maybe the Manning brothers and Archie.
Not me. The thing I dream about most is actually a catering job at a very specifickind of party. A party in the East Village where a man's - and woman's - dreams come true. A place with literally wall-to-ceiling vaginas, and I haven’t even mentioned the guests.
Sometimes after a rough day, you know the kind - the one where your now-former sous chef screwed up the seasoning on the pork medallions or the ship carrying the oysters from Japan capsized - I close my eyes and dare to dream about what it would be like.
I picture myself sitting 5 feet away from the honoured host. He's pregaming with a glass of Prosecco, and two windows open on his computer. In one, he's frantically refreshing and re-refreshing the Department of Buildings’ website in hopes that his permit for a roof deck jacuzzi gets approved in time for tonight's bash. In the other he's having business cards made - the premium stock - with just three words on them: "Maestro of Fucking."
Obviously, I'm talking about Nouriel Roubini, and the pleasure it would be to come to one of his parties and feed his motley crew of guests. Instead of the typical items they've come to expect at parties thrown and attended by the 1%, I'd open their mind to a finger food humble in presentation and explosive in taste: nachos.
The modern nacho was born in 1943, when Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya put together a plate of tortillas, melted cheese and jalapenos for the wives of U.S. soldiers, hungry after a shopping excursion in Piedras Negras, Mexico.
Seventy-one years later, a good serving of nachos should still be pretty simple and make Ignacio proud: a plate of tortilla chips topped with cheese and pretty much whatever else you want, most often guacamole, jalapeños, sour cream, salsa of some kind and usually a protein, whether it be chopped beef, shredded chicken or beans.
But what you get at many restaurants is a mess of 100 chips, 4 of which that have too much of everything and 96 that have nothing at all.
Unlike my spare ribs recipe, the ingredients and steps for nachos are a little more free-flowing. Be creative! Be you! You just have to keep one principle in mind at all times: Treat each individual chip like it's your child. Your only child. Name them if you have to, if that's what makes you comfortable. If that's what gets you going.
When you make these at home, dream a little. Dream like you’re about to dive tricep-deep into an all-night Jacuzzi gangbang, which is what I do, and how these nachos got their name.
Juice of 1 Lime
Shredded Cheese (suggestions: monterey jack, pepper jack, sharp cheddar, or any combination)
Cooked Ground Beef or Cooked Shredded Chicken (Season the crap out of it and squeeze some lime on it or you’re a joke)
Refried beans (or beans of your choice)
Sliced or Chopped Anything
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. (You can use a toaster oven if you’re making 1 serving).
2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. If you’re making one serving, use your little toaster oven baking sheet.
3. Arrange tortilla chips in a single layer on the sheet.
4. Drizzle all the chips with lime juice, and then sprinkle them with chili powder. Don’t miss a chip. Remember that these are your children. Do you not feed all of your children? Exactly.
5. Arrange the shredded cheese and optional meat or beans over the chips and don’t be frugal. The chips should all have about the same amount of cheese, etc. on them. None of them should look naked.
6. Now, this is the time you put your sliced stuff and/or the salsa on top. Unless you want to serve the salsa on the side with the other dipping stuff.
7. If you want to make a second layer, just repeat steps three through 5 on top of the first layer of chips. You want to make a third layer? Then for heavens’ sake make a third layer.
8. Place baking sheet with chips in the oven.
9. Alright I'm going to trust you here. Wait until they look like good nachos and take them out. Get a plate big enough to hold all the nachos and just lay them out on a plate. Keep the foil under them if you want. Serve with the sour cream/guacamole or whatever on the side. Alternately, if you don’t want the foil involved, arrange them on a plate and create a well in the middle for the sour cream/guac/etc.
10. Sprinkle with the optional sliced jalapenos and eat the hell out of them.