Friday, August 6, 2010

Day One Seventy Seven - A riff on Nachos, a little less Mexican and a little more Middle Eastern

After a long day yesterday, I went to a fantastic little beer bar where I split some nachos with friends and I got to thinking, why not take the traditional nacho recipe and make it new and different. It's such a great sharing dish, perfect to soak up those suds if you decide to have one more than you maybe should have. But why is it that it is made with that classic orange American cheddar?  Let's break out of the mold folks! Try something new, you never know you might be surprised.

If you break down nachos you basically have:

Sour Cream
Chili (optional)
Beans (optional)
Meat (optional)

So for my idea of a Middle Eastern Riff on Nachos, I thought you could start with pita chips, ideally homemade, if you're not feeling up to the task, you can utilize store bought ones. However they are easy as pie to make -- slice up pita into small triangles and brush olive oil on each, bake in the oven at a low heat for about 40 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Instead of your cheddar cheese, why not use the delish Cypriot cheese, Halloumi. Great grilled or fried this cheese has a high melting point so that it will hold up to the heat of the oven. Somewhat like the consistency of mozzarella yet completely different in taste, this would be the perfect cheese for our Middle Eastern Nachos here. If you'd like to add a little salt content to our dish why not sprinkle some feta on the top as well right before putting this in the oven.

I'd keep the tomatoes and onions, maybe add some sliced black olives and sundried tomatoes. Instead of jalapenos, why not use some harissa for spice and color. Top the entire plate with some pine nuts for crunch and finely diced parsley for color.

Place your Middle Eastern nachos in the oven over low heat till the halloumi melts. Serve with hummus, baba ghanoush on the side and homemade tzatziki (greek yogurt, dill, diced cucumbers, drizzle of olive oil and white wine vinegar, salt, and some garlic).

Enjoy folks!

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