July 17, 2013 8:24:09 AM
When I was a kid, one of my go-to fend-for-myself meals was nachos. Heap tortilla chips, refried beans, olives, meats, cheeses and whatever else struck me onto a giant dinner plate. Sprinkle a most liberal amount of cheese over everything, then pop the whole thing in the microwave for a minute. Done! And delicious.
It didn't occur to me until I was an adult that there was any other way to make nachos. And I was blown away by the difference between nuking my nachos and baking them in the oven. Texture alone was remarkably improved. No more soggy chips that turned rubbery by the end of the meal. And that says nothing of the wonderful browning of the cheese no microwave ever could achieve.
And it didn't occur to me until this summer that I could take my nacho evolution even further by moving them out of the oven and onto ... the grill.
The point, of course, is not merely to use the grill as an outdoor oven, though in summer sometimes that is justification enough. But rather to use the power of the grill to impart a delicious smokiness to the nachos. And that is why the corn and the steak that eventually land on the nachos first get cooked on the grates.
Of course, nachos are a personal matter. We all have our set of must-have toppings. So use my list as a suggestion and run with the technique.
CORN AND STEAK GRILLED NACHOS
Start to finish: 45 minutes
Makes 6 servings
3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle chilies in adobo)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, plus extra
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
9 ounces beef sirloin, thinly sliced (can substitute pre-sliced "stir-fry" beef)
1 ear corn, husked
11-ounce bag corn tortilla chips
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
1/3 cup pepperoncini, stemmed and thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, diced
Before turning on the grill, make sure the baking sheet you plan to use fits on it with the lid down. If it doesn't, you can divide the ingredients into multiple smaller pans, even metal cake or pie pans. The smaller pans also can be cooked in batches, if needed.
Nutrition information per serving: 520 calories; 290 calories from fat (56 percent of total calories); 32 g fat (7 g saturated; 1.5 g trans fats); 50 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 19 g protein; 890 mg sodium.