To all our friends and colleagues across the pond, we wish you a very Happy Independence Day! We’re celebrating with a cold one and some Very Traditional Nacho Fries! In her latest book, Fries, Laura Washburn has given the humble fry the Tex-Mex treatment in this deliciously decadent dish. You’re going to want to eat this. Now.
Salsa is one of life’s little pleasures so it shouldn’t just be served with tortilla chips. This is a French-fry twist on a tex-mex staple and the flavours all thrive on their new potato-based home. Try it and see.
3–4 large floury potatoes, all roughly the same size
vegetable or sunflower oil
sea salt flakes
1 x 400-g can refried beans
350 g grated/ shredded Monterey Jack or mild Cheddar
100 g sour cream
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
3–4 tablespoons sliced pickled jalapeños, or to taste
Salsa and Guacamole to serve
Peel the potatoes and trim on all sides to get a block. Cut the block into slices about 1cm thick, then cut the slices again to get chips.
Put the potatoes into a bowl of iced water for at least 5 minutes, to remove excess starch and prevent sticking when frying.
Fill a large saucepan one-third full with the oil or, if using a deep-fat fryer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Heat the oil to 190°C (375°F) or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds.
Drain the potatoes and dry very well. Working in batches, fry about a handful of potatoes at a time. Place the potatoes in a frying basket (or use a slotted metal spoon) and lower into the hot oil carefully. Fry for 4 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all of the potatoes have been fried.
Just before serving, skim any debris off the top of the cooking oil and reheat to the same temperature. Fry as before, working in batches, but only cook until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all of the potatoes have been fried.
Preheat the grill to high.
Warm the refried beans in a small saucepan. Consistency varies by brand, so you may need to add a splash of water to make them easier to spoon on; if they’re really thick, stir in a spoonful of salsa to help thin without diluting the taste.
Spread the fries on a shallow baking sheet and top with blobs of the beans, spread to cover fairly evenly. Scatter over the cheese in an even layer.
Place under the preheated grill until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top with blobs of salsa, guacamole and sour cream. Scatter over the spring onions and jalapeños and serve.
Fries by Laura Washburn, with photography by Steve Painter, is available here.
Happy Holiday Weekend everyone!