Look at that guy over there. Are those... tortilla chips covered with cheese and jalapeños he's dipping into his guacamole? OMG, what a loser. NOBODY eats plain nachos these days.
Let's face it: If you're eating regular old nachos, if you can't even be bothered to replace those chips with, say, deep fried tater tots, you may as well be chowing down on oatmeal while sipping on prune juice, gramps. Heck, even totchos are about as cool as a day-old ramen burger these days.
If you live by the mantra WWHMD?,* then you probably dreamed up Nugchos—that's chicken nuggets topped like nachos—long before they hit their current fifteen minutes of fame. And to you, the ones who constantly question how they can stuff more calories, more deep-fried-ness, and more meat into a smaller and smaller space, I salute you just a little bit.
That would be "What Would Harley Morenstein do?
I also call you complete and utter wimps. Nugchos? Nugchos?!? First off, let's talk breading here. Breading is for losers. Breading is for wimps who need to buffer their meat and fat experience with a cushion of carbs. And that brings me to the stuff under those carbs that you call "meat." Let me clarify for you: chicken breasts are not meat. Chicken breast is not even the fish of the land-animal world. Chicken breast is previously-living tofu. Chicken breast is an excuse that the weak and iron-deficient use in order not to get lumped in with all the other vegans and hippies sitting over in the corner.
But never fear! There is redemption ahead as I lead you towards nachos with a deep injection of piles of pleasure of the porcine persuasion. I present to you: SPAM-CHOS, nachos in their ultimate, meatiest, porkiest, fried-iest form. After much experimenting with cans of fine spiced ham provided by our corporate mega-sponsor Spam America's Favorite Canned Spiced Chopped-And-Formed Pork Product, I figured out a technique to form crisp, triangular chips that are made 100% out of Spam.
Step 1: Cut Spam
Open up a can of Spam by pulling on the convenient pull-tab located on the top. Discard the top then immediately invert the can over a cutting board, gently squeezing it until you hear a faint unzipping sound. Shake the can vigorously until the solid block of Spam slides out with a big schhhhhhllllooooooooop!.
Pro-tip: Scrape the congealed gelatin off the top of the block of Spam with your finger and eat it immediately. This is the best part of the Spam and your privilege to eat as the cook.
Slice the Spam into approximate 3- by 2-inch rectangles, then cut the rectangles into triangles.
Step 2: Deep Fry
I tried cooking the Spam using various techniques with a range of temperatures and times going from ∞ hours at room temperature to gently fanning the Spam with a lard-soaked paper towel while blowing on it with a hot hair dryer. In the end, I found many ways to get them to crisp up and stay crisp, but I opted for the most complicated.
Heat up 1 quart of fat—preferably rendered lard, duck fat, beef fat or a combination thereof (you can never squeeze too many species into a single snack)—in a wok to 425°F, then let it cool back down to 175°F (it should be gently bubbling with no visible bubbles). Separately, bring another quart of previously-frozen beef fat to 275°F in the oven (do not let it rest on the stovetop at any point), then combine the two pots of fat in a separate container and chill overnight in the refrigerator. Follow the recipe for my deep fried porchetta, skipping steps 1, 4, and 7, place the finished porchetta in the freezer, and reserve it for another use.
The next day, heat both batches of fat in the same wok (do not wash out the wok) to 375°F as registered by an assistant holding an instant-read thermometer. Gently slide your Spam triangles in. Do your best to resist eating them raw. As delicious as they are, they get even better!
Cook the Spam, agitating it constantly with a pair of wooden chopsticks (preferably from Japan), cooking until half the excess moisture has bubbled out of the slices, then continuing to cook until about 3/4 of the moisture has come out, and finally continuing to cook until 100% of the moisture as come out and the Spam chips are golden brown and starting to crisp but are still pliable.
Transfer the Spam to a paper towel-lined plate. Season it immediately and generously with salt, then immediately pick off any salt you just seasoned it with because Spam is damn salty enough on its own, you idiot.
Step 3: Top the Spam
I'm an absolute, no-exceptions stickler for authenticity. I want my Spamchos to be as traditional as possible and the last thing we want to do here is mess with Texas. That means we're going to individually and minimally top our Spam, starting with a layer of shredded Longhorn cheese and topping each Spam chip with a single slice of Serrano pepper. I like to carefully arrange the individual shreds of cheese with a set of those really long, skinny tweezers that doctors and scientists use, placing each shred slowly and deliberately to give the ultimate impression that I simply scattered the shreds haphazardly on top by the big handful.
It's a painstaking process, but getting that perfectly tousled and mussed look at the end is worth the extra effort.
Step 4: Bake
Transfer the cheese and pepper-topped Spamchos to a preheated oven for about three minutes until the cheese is melted. Now might be a good time to reexamine your life or perhaps simply re-prioritize it. And remember: It's always easier to forgive yourself for past indiscretions than to stop yourself from making future ones.
Step 5: Serve
As soon as the Spamchos are out of the oven, top them with a drizzle of Mexican sour cream, sprinkle them with thinly sliced radishes, ask yourself why you just added those radishes because radishes are for pansies, remind yourself that their pretty pink edges look great against the golden cheesy background and that's why you did it, ask yourself why you felt the need to add pink to your plate, then slowly reach out for a chip to distract yourself from the inner pain with external pleasure.
Welcome to the new era of mashups. There's no going back now.