Convention may suggest that nachos are messy. That nachos are not acceptable fair at fancy black tie affairs or benefit parties. Yet, if we look closely at the single chip build, popularized by Chili’s restaurant, we can see the potential of utilizing nachos as passed hors d’oeuvres.
The Chili’s method (by no means exclusive to the chain) simple combines all ingredients utilized on each individual chip. The result is very balanced, and almost completely mess free. Celebrity Chef Alton Brown also champions the single chip nacho in his “Ultimate Nachos” recipe. Typically (or I should say, in my experience), single build nachos have a layer of refried beans topped with cheese, and capped with a single jalapeno. Other strong options are a chipotle grilled chicken or carnitas version. Simple, again, and relatively mess free. The only true issues with single build nachos are a) they minimize the grand communal nature of the dish and b) they are awfully time consuming to prepare.
However, when you are at a catered affair, what do you care about how long it took them to make the hors d’oeuvres? You’re probably more concerned with the fact that mini egg rolls and crap carpaccio are no match for the nachos you really want! The individual chip nacho solves these woes. Eating while standing, as one does at black tie affairs, is not really communal anyway. So, an individual chip is great. Plus, you are not encouraged to stuff your face at these events.
According to my friend Abby, nachos are on some caterers lists. Yet, who knew this was an option? When will I someone be bold enough to take the right path? All the nacho hunters wish for is to be passed a heavily built chip at the next bar mitzvah we attend.