I talk about my experiences in Texas quiet a bit on this site. After all, Dallas, and Texas for that matter, was where I really began to experience food from other cultures. When I first moved to Dallas, I quickly began to experience what is known as Tex Mex food. Granted these were huge platters of tacos, enchiladas, burritos, with sides of refried beans and a dollop of salad and rice, it was simply a beautiful experience, yet one that was a bit too much during the week.
After moving around during those handful of years, I finally found a small little one bedroom apartment in the heart of little Mexico. The neighborhood was awesome, and it really showed the diversity of Dallas. My friends Jeremy, Troy, and a handful of others, were simply 2-3 blocks worth of skateboarding away. My neighbors on the right were entrepreneurs, and the ones on the left, well, true Mexicans. I say this as when I woke up early in the morning to head to work, there were about 3-4 Mexicans, in cowboy hats, sitting on the back of their Ford F150, drinking beer and cranking great Tejano music. This was at 7:15 a.m. mind you. So as you can see, Dallas was a place where not only did I start my career, but it was a place where I found great friends, and great food.
As I began to explore my neighborhood, I found two, well, possibly three great locations. Nearly a block away from one another, and about a block or so away from where I was living, were a Korean grocery store, and down the way, a great little Mexican mercado. I frequented both of these areas quiet a bit. The Korean store provided me with good beer and conversation from the owner, and the mercado provided me great tortillas, cheeses, and fresh jalapenos, limes, and cilantro.
When I began to slow down a bit towards my stay in Dallas, I realized that I was beginning to cook really simple dishes throughout the week and one that I was went to was the basic nacho. My wife and I laugh when we reflect on that time, and she always questions me like “That is what you made throughout the week, for dinner?”. Nachos pulled me through like you won’t believe, well, that, some aggressive skateboarding, rockabilly, great friends, and cold beer.
Now sure you have probably seen my take on the game day nachos, ones that are truly loaded with whatever you like, however while living in Dallas, I stuck with the real roots of the true Mexican nacho, one that is quickly bypassed in this modern day. The simplicity of the nacho is really one that yields the true flavor of what possibly became Tex Mex cooking.
- 3 Corn tortillas, quartered
- 1/4 cup of canola oil
- 1 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar cheese
- pickled jalapeno slices
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Stack your tortillas, and slice them in half. Stack them again and slice in half. Now you have fresh tortilla triangles, well close to being a triangle. In a large skillet, heat your oil. Add in a handful of tortillas, and cook only for a couple of minutes. You want a texture that is between fully cooked (not burnt), with a little bit of flex. Remove and set on some paper towel to drain any excess oil. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Get your baking sheet out and take your cooked tortilla chips and lay them out on the sheet. Top each chip with the shredded cheddar cheese. Top each tortilla with a jalapeno slice and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly. Remove, plate and serve. Enjoy.
Note: you can prebake the chips if you do not want to lightly fry them in oil. Another alternative is to place a bit of refried beans as your base, top with the cheese, and jalapeno slice.