There are some foods in this world that just make sense together. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Check. Chocolate syrup on ice cream? Definitely. Melted cheese and chips? Holy guacamole, yes!
On November 6, we’re happy to celebrate one of the cheesiest snacks out there: nachos. This common game-day delight is a perfect blend of all the tastes that we love most. From the gooey cheese, to the spicy jalapenos, to the salty chip crunch, it’s hard to find fault with a big plate of traditional nachos. And while nachos might seem like the most obvious flavor combination out there, you might be surprised to learn that this savory snack that we know and love has only existed since the 1940s.
One evening in 1943, a maitre d’ at the popular Victory Club in Piedras Negras, Mexico found himself with a restaurant full of diners and no chefs in sight. Ignacio Anaya, whose nickname was “Nacho”, quickly scoured the kitchen in search of food that he could serve to his guests. What Anaya created that day was petite canapes of tortilla chips, cheese, and jalapeno peppers.
From that day forward, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya’s creation quickly rose in popularity, particularly when an American inventor named Frank Liberto pioneered the now-iconic jarred queso dip. Liberto’s nacho cheese sauce was filled with “secret” ingredients that did not need to be heated or melted, and had a shockingly lengthy shelf-life. Liberto’s queso invention was first served to the public at Texas’ Arlington Stadium in the 1970s, thus securing the nachos’ place as a sporting event staple.
Although our modern interpretation of nachos is much different from Anaya’s original creation (seriously, how did he expect diners to limited themselves to only a few cheesy hors d’oeuvres?!), the greatest thing about nachos is how simple it is to change the recipe to fit our individual tastes. The most common nacho platter contains the fixings of a beloved Tex-Mex inspired spread. However, many eaters have taken their nachos to a whole new level by including regional ingredients that are a far cry from the snack’s Southwest origins.
This recipe for BBQ chicken nachos uses some favorite Southern flavors like smokey barbecued meat and crispy fried buttermilk onion rings, while also keeping the nachos light and (somewhat) healthy with the addition of grilled corn, sweet tomatoes, and spicy radishes. A homemade white cheddar queso sauce brings everything together in one perfect, cheesy bite.
Everyone loves a little bit of heat, and this recipe for Cajun shrimp nachos really packs a punch. The spicy jerk seasoning is balanced out by the addition of brown sugar, and shredded mozzarella brings a creamy richness to the meal. Or, for an extra kick, considering use pepper jack cheese.
Unbeknownst to many, Hawaii actually has a very active cheese scene! Some of the tropical flavors from this island paradise make for the perfect Hawaiian-style nacho platter, and this recipe for Kalua pig and pineapple nachos combines the best of sweet, salty, and cheesy.
Indian curry is a complex and aromatic spice blend, making it the perfect seasoning for ground lamb curried nachos. The addition of a light mango salsa compliments the lamb nicely, and the whole plate is drizzled with refreshing Greek yogurt. Crumbled pieces of feta would also be a particularly tasty addition. Replace the tortilla chips with crispy naan bread, and your “naanchos” are ready to serve!
People love nachos, and people also love crispy wontons, so why not have both at the same time! This recipe for Chinese-style pork belly nachos deconstructs all of our favorite takeout flavors and creates a totally unique nacho experience. The delicious Asian fusion dish is topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of shredded mozzarella.Photo Credit: Featured image courtesy of thepioneerwoman.com