Chef Secrets for Making the Ultimate Game-Day Nachos

How-To, Learn


Nachos

 

“It started out as a staff snack one night that we made with leftover stuff around the restaurant kitchen,” says Bar Amá executive chef and owner Josef Centeno of his restaurant’s now-legendary Super Nachos.

 

“I grew up in San Antonio where nachos were always on the menu, but they were never done properly – they were either too gluttonous, or one person would get the chip with everything on it and ruin it for everyone else,” says Centeno. So, Centeno and his team at Bar Amá decided to engineer the perfect plate of nachos: A crowdpleasing dish of tortilla chips piled high with toppings and a trio of sauces – that’s also easy to eat.

 

Here, Bar Amá chef de cuisine Andy Villaluna reveals the step-by-step secrets to their mind-blowing signature dish.

Get the full recipe for the Bar Amá Super Nachos.

 

THE CHIPS

 

“We messed around a little bit to find the perfect chip,” says Villaluna. “At first we were thinking that thin chips would make it nice and light, but those just broke or get soggy under all our toppings.” In the end, they went for a chip made by deep-frying their house-made corn tortillas. “We make our own tortillas and then fry them, but the home cook could also just use a really great bag of store-bought chips,” says Villaluna.

 

THE QUESO

 

“If you use shredded cheese on your nachos it melts nicely at first, but there’s always on person who pulls of a chip and all the cheese comes with it,” says Villaluna. “It’s like the nacho nucleus, and it ruins it for everyone else.” So Centeno, a classically trained chef, swapped out the melted shredded cheese for a mornay sauce: A French cheese sauce based on rich and creamy white béchamel. “We had to make it the perfect texture: If it’s too thick it doesn’t get into all the nooks and crannies of the chips, but if it’s too thin it can loose all the cheesy richness,” says Villaluna.

 

THE LAYERS

 

“When we started eating nachos together we noticed that there was never any cheese on the inside,” says Villaluna. “People dig into that outer layer, with all the good stuff, and then you’re left with a pile of dry chips.” Their solution? Build the nachos “lasagna-style” with layers of chips and cheese. “It’s a little more work on the front end, but it’s great when youre eating it. You don’t have to fish around for more sauce.”

 

WSOK_2_Cooks_Tools_01384

Sous chef Francisco Caracamo (left), chef de cuisine Andy Villaluna (center), and executive chef and owner Josef Centeno make Super Nachos in the Bar Ama kitchen.

 

THE SALMOREJA SALSA

 

This fresh tomato sauce falls somewhere between a chunky pico de gallo and a thin, light blender salsa. “We liked the fresh flavor of pico de gallo, but we didn’t like how you had to balance the chopped tomatoes on the chips to get the perfect bite,” says Villaluna. “When we grated the tomatoes, the sauce had the perfect consistency: Some texture, but still thin enough to find it’s way onto every corner of the nacho plate. “

 

THE AVOCADO SALSA

 

“A lot of people ask us ‘Why not just put guacamole on the nachos?’” says Villaluna. “Don’t get me wrong, I love guacamole, but by the time you put enough guac on the nachos so that everyone can have some, it just gets too heavy.” The avocado salsa, on the other hand, is sharper and thinner, so it’s easy to distribute evenly over a plate of nachos, but it adds a certain brightness to every bite.

 

THE CREMA

 

Sour cream tends to be a little more acidic and less thick than the crema and, in this case, the nachos needed that hit of creamy richness instead of a another layer of flavor. “Crema really concentrates that cream taste and texture and doesn’t compete with the acidic flavor of the salsas,” says Villaluna. “Plus, sour cream can sometimes be to watery, which could lead to soggy chips—never good.”

 

THE POMEGRANATE SEEDS

 

Though the toppings vary by season, pomegranate seeds are a staff favorite. “It’s a little something unexpected,” says Villaluna, who appreciates the pop of fruity acid that they add. Other common finishing touches for the Super Nachos included peppery, cruncy radishes and pickled red onions or other vegetables. “You need something crunchy or sharp that can kind of wake you up against all the cheese and richness in the nachos,” says Villaluna. “It’s all about balance.”

 

Get the full recipe for the Bar Amá Super Nachos.

 

Shop the Williams-Sonoma Open Kitchen collection.

9 comments about “Chef Secrets for Making the Ultimate Game-Day Nachos

  1. Bar Amá Brings the Party | Williams-Sonoma Taste

  2. Janice Lehmann

    Im in Texas looking at your Food Hope to get to LA one day to try your restaurant ! Looks amazing

    Reply
  3. Holy Shit, I Love You! | Too Sweet For Rock & Roll

  4. 6 California Hotspots to Spice Up Your National Nachos Day

  5. Rain Forest CBD

    I am now not sure the place you’re getting your info,
    but great topic. I must spend a while studying much more or understanding
    more. Thank you for excellent information I was looking for
    this information for my mission.

    Reply
  6. TestX 360

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put
    in writing this web site. I am hoping the same high-grade site post
    from you in the upcoming also. Actually your creative writing skills has
    encouraged me to get my own website now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings quickly.
    Your write up is a good example of it.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *