Ay Caramba!

Just in time for Cinco De Mayo, Blake Street Tavern's new Executive Chef, Justin Frayser, shares this restaurant staple, famous for its size and decadence.

Authored by Susan Fornoff

Courtesy Pixabay

The charm of nachos is that they originated with whatever Ignacio Anaya had in the kitchen at the time some pretty ladies stopped in his restaurant past closing time. If he’d had no tortillas, who knows what gooey guilty pleasure we’d have today.

But the tortillas, says Blake Street Tavern executive chef Justin Frayser, determine whether that first bite of nachos garners a gasp or a yawn. Blake Street uses white corn tortillas, but you can use yellow. Follow the instructions, and try not to count calories.

Blake Street Nachos

Start with a sleeve of uncooked corn tortillas from your local grocer. Cut tortillas into 6 triangles. Fill large skillet with canola oil to about 1/4 inch above the bottom and heat on medium high heat until a small piece of tortilla starts to sizzle. Place a handful of tortillas in the skillet, enough to create a single layer of chips. Cook chips for about 3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Use tongs to remove chips and place on a paper-towel-lined plate or tray to drain the oil. Repeat until all chips are cooked. Season with Kosher salt.

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Nacho Cheese Sauce
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. minced yellow onion
2 Tbsp. chopped green chiles (mild)
2 Tbsp. seeded and finely chopped tomato
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. buttermilk
2 oz. Monterey Jack cheese
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt 2 Tbsp. of butter in a saute pan over low heat. Add yellow onion, green chile,
tomato, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until onions become
translucent. Add remaining butter and flour and cook for another 2 minutes over low
heat, until flour coats the onion. Add heavy cream and half of the buttermilk and
cheese. Stir until cheese completely melts, then add remaining buttermilk a little at a
time until sauce is smooth, about 10 minutes. Use a hand or immersion blender until
sauce is completely smooth. Stream olive oil into sauce while continuing to blend. 

Nacho Build
Corn tortilla chips
4 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 oz. shredded sharp cheddar
2 oz. shredded pepperjack
2 oz. shredded muenster
Optional chicken or beef

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend cheeses. Cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet, or other oven safe dish, with a heaping layer of chips. Optional: Add chicken, beef, carnitas, or black beans. Evenly ladle cheese sauce over chips. Evenly spread cheese blend over sauce and chips. Add another heaping layer of chips and repeat. Bake for 5-8 minutes, check and rotate. Continue to bake for 3 minutes or until cheese has melted into a nice, gooey layer over the top. Remove from oven and add any additional toppings you enjoy with your nachos. Recommended: tomato, red onion, black olive, jalapeno, guacamole, sour cream.

Blake Street Tavern
2301 Blake Street in Denver.