I still haven't decided who I'll be pulling for this weekend. No one deserves a Super Bowl winning team more than New Orleans, but as a lifelong Atlanta Falcons fan, it's tough to root for a division rival. Indianapolis, on the other hand, is a bit vanilla--they get the job done and have the best QB in the league--but they just don't get me excited.
One thing I'm sure about is what I'll be eating. Real Super Bowl parties don't have silly food themes based on which teams are playing. (Apparently that's what a few of my colleagues are planning to do.) Resist. I'll be making what I always make: nachos. Every significant moment in my life has been marked with a big plate of nachos. After every little league baseball game victory, my folks took me to a place called The Derby for a heaping mound of nachos. After I finished my college thesis, I rewarded myself with a few pitchers of Labatt's (hey, it was cheap) and an order of Cactus League Nachos from Gipper's Sports Grill in Lewiston, Maine. Soon after I met my wife I think I made a tray of nachos. OK, perhaps I'm exaggerating the role of nachos in my life, but I really do dig them. I've thought about opening a restaurant that only serves beer and nachos. I'm still working on a few details. In the meantime, here are a few of my highly subjective tips to making nachos.
The 10 Rules of Making Nachos
1. Choose thick, corn tortilla chips. I guess you could make your own, but why? They're not going to be any better than Tostitos.
2. Don't buy pre-grated cheese (ever). Grate it yourself so that the cheese will be fresh and finer in texture which leads to uniform melting.
3. Don't overcrowd your nachos. Build them on a cookie tray in layers--first tortilla chips, then grated cheese, followed by a two or three minutes in a very hot oven to quickly melt the cheese on the first layer. Then take it out of the oven and repeat with more layers.
4. Never used canned, pre-sliced black olives. They have no place on pizza, nachos, or baked potatoes. I'm not even sure a dog should eat them.
5. Don't go fancy. It's tempting to throw on all kinds of imported, artisanal ingredients, but don't. Save your short rib chili, chorizo, applewood-smoked turkey sausage, and Chanterelle mushrooms for another day. Good nachos only need five ingredients: chips, cheese, beans, salsa, and jalapeno slices.
6. Do serve the guacamole and sour cream on the side. (My wife hates sour cream so this rule is for her.)
7. Bake your nachos enough so that the outer edge of the chips are slightly browned, almost burned, and the cheese is crisp and crunchy. Nacho connoisseurs look for this subtle touch.
8. I suppose canned salsa has its place on some planets, but not on this one and not on my nachos. Make your own!
9. Leftover nachos aren't good so make sure there aren't any.
10. Serve with lots of beer. Wine goes with everything...except nachos.
That's about it. Let's hope the game is as good as the nachos.
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