The appetizer nachos in Ultimate Nachos run the gamut from simple melted cheese on chips to insane platters of Reuben sandwich-esque bites and croque monsieur stacks. These crab-topped nachos offer an app that's somewhere in the middle. Neither pedestrian nor gut-bombing, this elegant dish is mostly light and refreshing, with plenty of sweet, briny shellfish to satisfy. The recipe is Lee Frank and Rachel Anderson's interpretation of Hugo Ortega's dish from his eponymous restaurant in Houston.
Why I picked this recipe: This light and bright appetizer platter looked like just the thing for the ever-warming evenings.
What worked: The crab salad was well-balanced and easy to execute.
What didn't: I thought the ratio of crab salad to chips was a little too heavy on the crab, making for a much more substantial meal than advertised. Still, this isn't the worst problem to have—just add more chips!
Suggested tweaks: If a full pound of shucked crab meat is out of your budget, you could easily sub in chopped poached shrimp, or even play with the ratio of crab to potatoes. More potatoes and less crab would still be good. Another, admittedly less budget-friendly twist, would be to use lobster instead of crab.
Reprinted with permission from Ultimate Nachos: From Nachos and Guacamole to Salsas and Cocktails by Lee Frank and Rachel Anderson, copyright 2013. Published by St. Martin's Griffin. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 serrano pepper, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 small red potatoes
- 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
- 7 ounces corn tortilla chips, approximately half of a store-bought bag, or, if prepared fresh, use 15 corn tortillas, each cut into 6 triangles
- 3 unpeeled radishes, cut into very fine matchsticks
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh tomatoes
- Salt and black pepper
Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan.
Add the garlic, serrano pepper, bay leaves, dried herbs, and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, then cool to room temperature. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
Boil the potatoes in salted water for 10 to 15 minutes until tender. Then let them cool to room temperature.
When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and dice finely.
Combine the crabmeat, potatoes, and herb mixture. Set aside.
Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing.
Add approximately half of the dressing mixture to the crabmeat mixture, toss to combine, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Arrange the chips on a serving platter and spoon the crabmeat mixture on top. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and garnish with the radishes.