Introduction: Inside-Out Nachos
These inside-out nachos are a bold take on the dish; the corn shell is thick, crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, and the cheese sauce that oozes out tastes so real; the cheddar, jalapeno, and tomato have no fillers or binders to mute their flavors. I don't know why I wanted nacho cheese sauce inside the crispy corn chips, but I was determined to figure out a way to make it happen.
I found a recipe for cornmeal chips online, but it didn't work very well. It was too crumbly to hold the cheese sauce inside, and the chips without the cheese sauce were still impossibly crumbly. I'm also really really picky about food and didn't want to use anything artificial. Forget sauce in a can. Because it was being contained in chips and would be eaten hot, there was no concern about emulsifying the cheese sauce to keep it liquid and smooth.
I came up with my own recipes instead.
I don't have precise amounts for this... sorry. Play around when you try this, and I'll do my best to estimate how much of stuff I used.
2/3 C cornmeal
1/2 C cornstarch
1/2 C water (more or less, use enough to make a workable dough, adding more if it dries out as you use it)
2 T butter
1/2 t salt
a few grinds of black pepper
oil to fry the chips in
1 thick slice of fresh or frozen jalapeno pepper
1-2 yellow pear tomatoes (that's the kind of tomato that was ripe in our yard; use a little bit of other tomato or puree)
1/2 C cheddar cheese
2-3 T ish of water, enough that you can blend this mixture
I first started making the corn shell dough by heating the water and butter on the stove, but that's not necessary. Dump the cornmeal, cornstarch, water, butter, and salt in a bowl, stir, and microwave for a minute or less, until it's really warm. Mix thoroughly and knead until you get a smooth dough.
Pour some oil into a pot or pan until it's about an inch thick. Heat it on the stove until it's hot... I didn't bother taking my thermometer out for this. You want it hot enough to slightly brown the chips as they cook without burning them before they're done cooking.
I recommend shredding the cheese before making the filling; I didn't and it was a hassle. Dump the cheese, jalapeno, and tomato in a blender or food processor. Add a little water and blend until it's smooth enough for your taste. You might have to scrape it a bit.
Take some of the dough out and roll it a little thin, but not too thin. These chips should be thicker and more resilient than regular chips because they need to hold the cheese filling while they cook. I used waxed paper for this. Don't do it. Little bits of it softened and got into the dough. Use parchment or something if you must, but I didn't have trouble getting the thick chips off the cutting board when I stopped using the waxed paper.
Use a cookie cutter to cut circles (or squares or triangles) from the dough. Spoon a little filling in the center of a circle, then cover it with another circle. Be gentle so the corn dough doesn't crack. Press firmly around the edges to seal it; it's fine to squish the dough thinner at the edges.
Fry the stuffed nacho shells in small batches; too many at once will lower the temperature of the oil, which will make for soggy nachos. Drain on paper towels, grind on a little more black pepper, then serve immediately.
Thanks for reading! Now go make your own and post pictures. :)
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