I’m really tired of the swine flu scare, frenzy, bru-haha, the media has conjured up! I’ve read some of the most vile and hateful things being said about Mexican people–yeah the ones that keep this country clean and manicured and share their culture and food with us! You all know you love a good chimichanga, or a smooth, ultra creamy guac!
And yesterday, being an *American* holiday of sorts (because you know Mexican nationals don’t celebrate *Cinco* as it’s not independence day), I figured it is an appropriate time to elevate and uplift the Mexican people! Highlight their good, if you will and allow!
To that end, let’s talk about some of Mexico’s loved indigenous foods and spirits. Tequila for starters, made from the agave plant, was yesterday’s hard liquor of choice. Margarita specials probably overshadowed any course options. In that case, I will do you some favor by sparing you another tequila related story. The internet abounded in it yesterday, as if it were the only time it should be prized and begged to be thrown back (was a trending topic on Twitter!); and I’m certain you read and saw more pictures of tequila-flavored *anything* than you cared to, right!?!
And what about guac?
If you read this blog, you know I’ve been to Mexico quite a bit and absolutely relish sitting ocean-side sipping on coconut daiquiri’s. You also know I think they make the best guacamole. And even tho I can throw down my own Cuban pineapple version and would cheerfully challenge a Mexicali to a guac-off, I respect the art of varying tastes and textures made by them. See here for an example.
And then there is the plethora of Americanized interpretations of Mexican food, like burritos and nachos. Few times have I been to a restaurant where the latter are a true and respectable representation of what Mexicans hail. Come to think of it, does any M-A restaurant really stay true to form? Ironically, my favorite nachos, hands down, come from Blanca’s, an El Salvadorian and Mexican restaurant in Falls Church, Va. Honestly, it’s owned by my nieces’ grandparents. I may be biased, just a tad bit, but I always mentally refer to them when I think of a good plate of nachos. Ultra cheesy, really well seasoned grilled chicken, beans, jalapeño and tomato. That’s it.
And even more ironic is that I’ve yet to have a solid plate of nachos in Mexico. Even on my last trip there a few months ago, a very inviting sign reading “NACHO’S TOURS” in the remote beach town of Sayulita, didn’t entice me. Somehow surfing trips, snorkeling and fishing didn’t equate to bountiful serving of chips-n-thangs!
A lack of local eateries serving up really good nachos, both in Atlanta and DC, means I like making them at home. Plus, I grew up eating a version called *haystacks* for potluck lunches after church. At mami’s house, eating nachos was fun, especially on weekends. They were always the perfect, fill-us-up, no fuss dinner. The 5 of us pretty much agreed on the toppings, which made making them fast and easy.
What I made for lunch ayer is a result of having left over bass tacos from eating out the night before. I didn’t want to assemble the same meal, so I went to work. Fortunately, they were seasoned well enough to incorporate into my nachos libre. This is one of three times I don’t mind using canned Goya beans. Doctoring them up is by all means necessary and takes no time! A bit of cumin, salt and coriander seed, gave them the perfect smokey kick they needed. Beyond the protein and beans, all else is subject to your personal taste, but since we’re trying to be all out authentic here, we skip the lettuce, sourcream and cheddar. I started stacking: corn tortilla chips, fish, beans, rice, beans again, grated some jalapeño pepper jack, tomato, red onion, grated more cheese and cilantro.
I thought I was done and ready to attack the 6″ high plate, when I got inspired. I cleaned my cutting board and knife and made garlicky guac! Of course I made guac! 2 haas and 4 cloves of garlic (with appropriate seasonings) and I was GOOD! Nachos without guac is like having coffee without sugar! I topped it off with a generous dallop and went to work, again.
And, a certain man is loving me right now for asking him to join me for lunch!
Enjoy my style of nacho libre as much as I did! I promise you’ll be very pleased and hey, it makes for a great last minute dinner for the family! Here’s to all my Mexican friends!!
*How was your Cinco De Mayo? What did you do to celebrate?*
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.
Follow the sexy & delicious fun on
- 2 filets of crusted or grilled fish (bass, tilapia, mahi-mahi seasoned as you like); cut into chunky pieces
- 1 can kidney or pink beans (Goya or Rancho Gordo are good options; see seasoning options above); drained
- 1 tomato, diced
- 4 Tbsp. red onion, minced
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 5-6 Tbsp. good grated cheese (jalapeño pepper jack is good option)
- tortilla chips
- 1/2 cup cilantro, rough chop
- 1 cup guacamole, optional
Season your beans and cook for 10 minutes on low-medium heat. While beans are cooking, grill or pan-fry your fish. Begin assembling your nachos by layering. Tortilla chips first. Add fish. Add beans, rice, then beans again. Continue to stack by grating cheese. Add onion, tomato and top with cilantro. Grate more cheese around plate. Top with chunky dallop of guacamole, if you desire.