Saturday, September 15, 2007
Topping nachos with corn, zucchini, peppers, and celery maximizes brightness, flavour and crunch while keeping the cost down. You can also use leftover carrots, eggplant, or other vegetables on hand as long as they do not have too much moisture. The cheese is, of course, vital - I love using a mixture of mozzarella for its texture with another harder and more pungent cheese for flavour. You can also chop up and cook the vegetables ahead of time so that they are ready for a last minute snack or meal.
Chop up one red pepper, half a large red onion, two to three skinny stalks of celery with leaves, one small zucchini or half a calabacita, and have ready one cup of corn kernels. Heat a small amount of oil in a wok or heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat and add the onions, then the corn, then the peppers, and finally the squash with 1-2 teaspoons of salt. The vegetables should be heated through but not cooked limp, and you will have a lot - we are talking about four cups of cooked vegetables for a normal, 365 g bag of tortilla chips. The celery should be left raw. Chop up a hot green pepper and mince some of the red onion for garnish, if desired. Lay out a single layer of chips on a baking sheet and spread cooked vegetables and chopped celery over them. Add 2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar or other strongly flavoured cheese and top with about 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella. Bake or broil til there are browned spots on the cheese and chips. Pile nachos into a bowl and garnish with chopped hot pepper and chopped onion, if desired.