Leave it to Ina Garten to make nacho average nachos.
In her latest cookbook, “Modern Comfort Food,” Garten incorporates a special ingredient that takes the comforting snack to a whole other level.
A once-a-year indulgence for me, nachos are something I usually have while watching a football game. So, when I saw that Garten’s recipe had a high-end ingredient — fresh jumbo lump crabmeat — I figured it was worth the splurge.
I didn’t know two things: One, fresh crabmeat is not for the wallet-concerned faint of heart, and two, it’s sure worth it!
The ingredients in her Fresh Crab Nachos are pretty par for the course: yellow corn tortilla chips, freshly grated white cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, chopped tomatoes, onion, avocado, lime juice, jalapeños, scallions and green chiles. What takes it over the top? Close to a pound of fresh jumbo lump crab.
My own grocery naivete got in the way when I went to my local Metropolitan Market and discovered that a pound of lump crab is … $50! Even though I had already bought all the other ingredients, I could only commit to half the amount of crab, and spending $25 still made me wince. (A friend on Facebook recently told me to check out Costco for reasonably-priced lump crab that’s $25 per pound.)
I planned to halve the recipe but ended up just using half the crab and sticking to the other measurements. You add the crab to a mixture of cream cheese, mayo, sour cream and chiles. I worried it wouldn’t be meaty enough. But the balance, though more creamy, was actually fine.
I loved Garten’s layering suggestion: Put chips down, layer with the crab mixture, add cheese and then repeat the layer. One other special touch: pickled jalapeños on the first layer. I used Texas Pepper Works Candy Krisp Jalapeños and they added a sweet, tangy and subtly spicy touch.
Once you bake the two layers in a 375 F oven for about 25 minutes, you top with the tomato, onion, avocado and fresh jalapeño mixture, and serve hot.
Since I am by no means an expert, I asked my husband for a review. He is a wherever-whatever nacho guy, but when I told him about this pricy recipe, he didn’t want to like them. He couldn’t help going in for seconds, thirds and so on, finally declaring they were worth every single penny.