Cold Nachos at the culinary Institute of Yankton

As the temperatures in South Dakota begin to break 90 degrees, fresh on the menu is cold nachos. At first, the idea sounds wildly unappealing. “Hi, I’d like a plate of nachos but please don’t heat any of it up, room temp will suffice” said no one ever…with the exception of Federal inmates. For the record, it should be mentioned that we eat our nachos in bowls because there are no plates on the compound, none that I’ve ever seen.

Dig deeper and you recognize that much of the food we cook here is dehydrated and must be reconstituted using hot water. This comes with a catch. I can warm up refried beans or white rice by soaking them in hot water in Tupperware, but what about burritos or Stromboli’s? What happens once your creation is assembled and all of the ingredients need to be melted together?

You take the burrito, wrap it in either a used cereal bag or a used tortilla bag, then heat it up in the water. “But what holds the water you heat it in?” you ask. As one friend here put it “I’m heating a burrito wrapped in a garbage bag that was dunked in an old mop bucket filled with hot water.” The burrito is dry when you pull it out of the bag, so technically speaking it’s not contaminated, but still. The warming of food using plastic bags soaking in 180 degree dirty water is your BPA nightmare and not what the creators of sous vide had in mind when they bestowed upon us their glorious creation.

The idea of cold nachos is now immensely appealing. High in protein with complex flavor profiles and a unique prison inspired ‘salsa’. The ingredients list is as follows:

1/2 bag of tortilla chips
1/2 bag of Doritos
1/2 bottle of jalapeno squeeze cheese
1/2 bottle of squeeze mayo
1-2 packets of Goya seasoning
3 packs of mackerel
1 pack of tuna
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning
Sweet & hot sauce
Hot pepper mix
Chopped pickle
El Pato Jal green sauce

To begin, we create our homemade cold nacho sauce. A mayo based creme de la creme. In a bowl, squeeze the mayo, jalapeno cheese, add a healthy splash of hot water and pickle juice, a good squeeze of the sweet & hot sauce and then hit it with Italian seasoning to taste. This makes enough sauce for 2-3 servings.

Drain and rinse the soybean oil from your mackerel packs. In a separate bowl, add the macks and the tuna then season with the packets of Goya as well as garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Mix everything together and don’t be shy with the garlic powder or the Italian seasoning.

In a fresh bowl, layer the tortilla and Doritos chips. After that you add on the mackerel and tuna mix. Next comes the mayo and jalapeno cheese sauce. On top of this, dress with the hot pepper mix, chopped jalapenos, chopped pickles and a drizzle of the el pato jal and sweet & hot sauce.

My utmost gratitude goes out to BP and all the cold nacho experts at Yankton for the recipe and the introduction to the joys of room temperature eating.

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