We have Jimmy Buffett to blame for this post. Like I mentioned when I blogged my Key West trip, I am a proud Parrothead. And it was at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant in Las Vegas that Jared and I decided nachos were an acceptable dinner. The Margaritaville restaurants have something on their menu called “Volcano Nachos”. These nachos are basically a huge pile of tortilla chips topped with chili, cheese and all the standard nacho fixins’. They’re served on a platter, and are piled high enough that they actually do resemble a volcano. Also, they’re awesome. Then again, I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a bad nacho.
Anyway, we certainly couldn’t finish the whole appetizer, much less eat a meal on top of it. So we decided to make the nachos our meal that night. And, every once in awhile, usually on a Sunday when we want to drag out the weekend, I’ll make a plate of nachos for dinner. Healthy? Not at all. Yummy? Oh yes. So, in continuing with my summer isn’t over theme, here’s a recipe for some great, Key West-inspired nachos I made a few weeks ago.
Serves 2-4 as a meal, more as an appetizer
Yellow corn tortilla chips
2 tilapia fillets
Goya brand Adobo
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 bag shredded Mexican-style cheese
2-4 jalapeño peppers, sliced thin
1/4 red onion, diced
Kernels from 1 grilled ear of corn (optional)
Pico de gallo & guacamole for garnish (my recipes follow)
Pico de Gallo Ingredients
2-3 large tomatoes, diced
1-2 jalapeños, seeded & diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt & pepper to taste
2 avocados, peeled & seeded
1/8 onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno, diced
1/2 tomato, diced
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. fresh cilantro
1 tsp. minced garlic
Splash of tequila (optional)
Salt & pepper
1. Make the pico de gallo by combining all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. The longer you refrigerate your pico de gallo, the better it will taste.
2. Lightly coat tilapia with lime juice and a light sprinkle of Adobo. Broil for 3-4 minutes per side. Chop broiled tilapia and set aside.
3. Reduce oven heat to 350°. Cover a round pizza pan with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray. Layer tortilla chips on the foil-covered pan. Follow with a layer of tilapia, jalapeños, cheese, beans, corn, onions and pico de gallo. Add a second, smaller layer of tortilla chips and top with remaining nacho toppings. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and other toppings are heated.
4. While nachos are baking, make the guacamole. The easy way to do it is to throw all the ingredients in a 2-cup food processor and turn it on. If you’re into manual labor, mush (yes, that’s a technical term) everything together with a fork.
5. To serve, top nachos with guacamole and enjoy with a margarita!
My thoughts & suggestions
- For once, I don’t have many suggestions. They’re nachos. For dinner. Anything goes!
- That being said, here are some notes and explanations. I put the pico de gallo on before baking the nachos because I like the taste & texture of warm tomatoes on nachos. I know there are people who put more or less things in their pico de gallo. I roughly follow what my host mom in Mexico did when she made hers. This recipe is heavy on jalapeños because Jared & I like hot food. Feel free to reduce or eliminate them if you’re not a fan. I have to admit that I feel like a bit of a slacker because I didn’t shred my own cheese after going through the trouble to make my own salsa & guacamole. But part of the point of this meal was to use up leftovers & staples before they went bad. One final note about the guacamole. I do sometimes put tequila in mine. It’s a suggestion I came across on the internet a few years ago. You can’t taste the tequila; but it definitely enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.