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Irish Nachos

Irish Nachos are a delicious take on that tasty Mexican appetizer made with tortillas and nearly endless add-ons. The ingredients for Irish Nachos are simple, but the technique for frying the potatoes makes all the difference. The potatoes should be as crispy as the tortillas in the Mexican version. Here goes:

4 potatoes*, scrubbed and sliced very thin. Red or Yukon Gold are preferred
1 to 2 cups of canola or corn oil for frying

1 cup sharp cheddar, grated

1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup sliced jalapeno peppers (or to taste)
2 T crumbled bacon

sour cream

Lay the sliced potatoes on a paper towel to blot as much water as possible.

Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet, preferably. The oil will be hot enough when a drop of oil sizzles for a second before evaporating. If a deep fryer is to be used. Set the temperature to 375 degrees. Cook a few slices at a time. (Anyone who has seen Julia & Julia will remember Julia Childs's admonition not to crowd the mushrooms, and the same advice applies here.) Avoid the temptation to move the potatoes around as they fry. When they are quite crisp and golden brown, remove the potatoes from the oil with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Kiss the fried potatoes with the salt, and keep them warm in a 200-degree oven while the subsequent batches cook. This dish is nicest when the potatoes are quite crisp.

To assemble the dish, arrange the potatoes on a heat-proof platter and layer with the grated cheddar cheese. Place the potato and cheese under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese bubbles. Top the dish with the scallions, sliced olives, and any other toppings you choose. Serve with sour cream, salsa, and guacamole on the side.

If you like meat, consider crumbled bacon, sliced pepperoni, or perhaps chili. Rachel Ray has a recipe that includes shaved corned beef that is chopped and added with the cheese before heating. That sounds very interesting and delicious as well.

While some may say nachos doesn't sound like an authentic Irish dish, most of the important ingredients are old staples: fried potatoes, cheese, sour cream, scallions, and bacon. Rest assured, you'll be able to find Irish Nachos in modern Dublin.

*Waffle-cut frozen fried can be used in a pinch.

For REAL Irish food, visit: http://www.foodireland.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT&Store_Code=FI&AFFIL=Q8046882

...and for a thoroughly authentic, modern, and quintessentially Irish cookbook, please enjoy Carmel Somers' new guide to wonderful food from Good Things Cafe and Cookery School on Sheep's Head Peninsula, west Cork. Carmel

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