March 13, 2021. Dear Daughters– I hope I’m not offending anyone with this cultural food mash up from the two biggest drinking days in the US- St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo- but you may need something to soak up all that alcohol, so I give you this St. Paddy’s Day take on nachos. But seriously, as a Dad, I’d rather you pass on the alcohol and go with a nice green, avocado and kale smoothie as your drink of choice next Wednesday.
There are a lot of flavors going on here and I was afraid it wouldn’t work out, but somehow it did- perhaps the luck of the Irish, we’ll never know. Actually, we do know because the brightness and pop from the pickled beets, “fermented” salsa, citrusy “guacamole” and fresh herbs compliment and contrast perfectly with the richer flavors of the potatoes, cheese and sour cream to give you a delicious and balanced appetizer for your St. Patrick’s Day table.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes, or more for extra crispy chips, but much longer if you don’t have leftover baked potatoes, so plan accordingly.
Servings: 4-6 as an appetizer
GET YOUR STUFF OUT
- Corned Beets
- 1-2 medium red beets, thinly sliced with vegetable peeler or grated
- 1/2 cup leftover pickle brine or make your own with 1/2 cup of cider vinegar mixed with some smashed garlic, fresh dill, if you have it, and a few teaspoons of pickling spices, like toasted mustard seed, coriander seeds, bay leaf and peppercorns/red pepper flakes.
- “Nacho” Chips
- 4 leftover, medium baked russet potatoes- InstaRecipe below if you don’t have leftovers.
- 1-2 tablespoons canola oil
- kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste
- “Mushy Pea Guacamole“
- 1 avocado, skinned and seeded
- 1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed and drained with warm water
- 2 tablespoons minced red onion
- lime or lemon juice to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh herb of choice- mint would be nice with the beets and peas in the recipe
- Cabbage and Carrot Salsa
- 1/2 cup sauerkraut and some brine
- 1 small carrot grated or julienned
- 3/4 cup grated Irish or other cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream or nonfat Greek yogurt*
- 1-2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 1-2 tablespoons, minced red onion, optional
- lime or lemon wedges
* or vegan alternative
COOK AND PLAY
Forgive me as I take a detour from the amazing female, “Daughter Power” artist I’ve been featuring here, but I just couldn’t help but sing “Nacho Man” to the tune of the Village People’s “Macho Man” while I made this recipe. So please indulge me, if you will, and listen to this with a smile as you make your “nachos”. Click here for the Official Dad’s Dinner Diary Cook and Playlist!
Note- If you have time to make the pickled beets and cabbage and carrot salsa the night before, to store in clean containers in the fridge, you’ll get a more flavorful product, but you will still have an excellent pickle even if you don’t.
- Corned Beets. Preheat oven, with middle rack and top rack set up, to 450 degrees. Add pickle brine to small pot, bring to simmer and add beets and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes- set aside, off heat.
- Not-cho Chips. Cut potatoes, crosswise into 1/3′ to 1/2” thick circles, place in one layer on baking tray (use another tray if necessary), toss with oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake in oven, flipping to nicely brown both sides, until the chips are as brown as crispy as you like- 10 minutes or so a side. Remove chips when cooked and turn broiler to high to melt cheese in Step 6 below.
- Mash It Up. While chips cook, make your toppings. Dump avocado, peas, red onion, lime juice and dill into a bowl and mash it all up with a big fork until it looks guacamole-ish.
- Speedy Salsa. Mix sauerkraut and carrots in a bowl.
- Just as Speedy Horseradish Cream. Mix sour cream and horseradish in small bowl.
- Nacho Mama’s Nachos. Once potato chips are nice and crispy, evenly top with cheese and return to oven on top rack under broiler, watching carefully, until cheese is bubbly, brown in places and nicely crispy in other places. Place tray of chips on heat proof board and artistically top with Corned Beets, Mushy Pea Guacamole, Cabbage and Carrot Salsa, Horseradish Sour Cream and red onions, if using.
Not Complicated: Baked Potato InstaRecipe. Heat oven, with middle rack set up, to 400 degrees. Scrub four medium russet potatoes clean, place on a sheet pan and toss with a bit of oil, salt and pepper and bake until a knife easily pierces the potatoes- about 50 minutes.
Not Corned Beef. Instead of making corned beef, a pickled red meat, we are making, corned beets, a pickled red vegetable, and scoring a nice Dad Joke in the process. If you’re wondering what “corned” means- although I doubt it very much- it derives from the German word for “small seed”, “kurnam”, which referred to the seed like appearance of the larger salt crystals used in the curing process that colors and flavors the meat. So “corned” is actually curing- a process to preserve/flavor food with salt. So in this recipe, we are flavoring, or “corning”, our beets with a salty and acidic pickle brine.
Not Guacamole. We are not making guacamole- just look at all the hubbub the New York Times created after it tweeted, “Add peas to your guacamole, Trust us.” in 2015. On the other hand, it was likely one of the last times when politicians on separate sides of the aisle (President Obama and The Republican Party of Texas) actually agreed on something- in this case, that peas had no place in guacamole. Nevertheless, they are missing the point because we are not making guacamole, we are making a balanced, bright and rich green sauce in the style of guacamole, with little pops of sweetness to compliment the dish. It’s like adding tarragon to hollandaise- it’s not hollandaise, it’s bearnaise- two separate, but flavor worthy creations to use when appropriate with the other flavors of a particular dish.
Not Mushy Peas. Likewise, we are not making Mushy Peas, the beloved British Isle side dish often served with fish and chips and made with marrowfat peas that are more akin to split peas than the peas found in your local grocer’s freezer. Side Note. The frozen peas really saved me when I made this recipe because the only avocados I had were riddled with brown spots. The bright, green and inexpensive frozen peas brought the color back to a nice green and economically stretched the sauce out too.
Not Nachos. Last, but not least, these are also not nachos, but a dish inspired by nachos, which have come a long way since a plate of fried tortilla strips, topped with some type of melted American cheese and pickled jalapeños, were prepared impromptu for some late night diners back in the 1940s by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya. Nachos quickly spread north of the border to Texas, out to the LA restaurant scene at El Cholo in 1959, proliferated to the masses in the 1970s thanks to the invention of nacho “cheese” sauce that allowed them to be quickly and inexpensively served in ballparks around the nation and continue today in all these forms and in variations too numerous to detail.
Keywords: appetizer, Irish, vegetarian, vegan option,
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