Is there any party food more perfect than nachos?
First, nachos are meant to be shared with others. Second, their spicy heat demands a cool, fire-quenching beverage – preferably beer!
There are no hard & fast rules regarding ingredients when making nachos. The only constants are tortilla chips, salsa and cheese – the rest is up to you.
In the spirit of fun & experimentation, we used one of our favorite ingredients in all the world, dried morel mushrooms (but you could use just about any fresh mushroom or reconstituted dried mushroom). The resulting hearty snack was one big, happy mess – and it’s guaranteed to satisfy the biggest appetite!
First, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Start off with a layer of your favorite tortilla chips, crowded tightly together on a baking sheet or pizza pan.
Soak 1/4 oz dried morels in very hot tap water for about 15 minutes or until soft and pliable. Drain well, reserving the soaking liquid. Rinse the morels well under warm running water to remove any traces of grit. Pat dry and slice lengthwise into strips. (See more about reconstituting dried mushrooms here).
Melt a little butter (about a teaspoon or so) in a small pan over medium high heat. Add the reconstituted morel pieces and cook for a minute or two, stirring occasionally. Add about 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid, taking care to avoid stirring up any sediment that may have settled out. Continue to cook over medium high until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat & set aside.
Spoon your favorite salsa or hot sauce over the tortilas, then top with half the grated cheese. Sprinkle with your favorite nacho ingredients – sliced green onions, olives or jalapenos etc, then add the rest of the cheese.
Distribute the cooked morels evenly over the surface, then pop the nachos into the oven on the top rack for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted.
Remove from the oven and top with any additional fresh ingredients – diced avocado or guacamole, fresh chopped cilantro, sour cream – whatever strikes your fancy!
Serve immediately and let everyone have at it, but make sure you get your share – they’ll disappear before you know it!