Seafood Nachos

Continuing with the musings on “what really is a nacho,” the “seafood nacho” from A.W. Shucks in Charleston, SC just plain ignores any strict definition and gets loose with interpretation. The dish, comprised of crab meat, bacon, cheddar jack, scallions, tomatoes, ranch sauce and… wait for it… fried potatoes, gets to the heart of one of my sub-inquiries being a nacho hunter. That is, precisely when did nachos over take potato skins as the premier bar room appetizer.

You see, the A.W. Shucks “seafood nacho” could easily be called a deconstructed potato skin. All the elements of a great potato skin are there. Crisp, skin on potatoes. Cheese and bacon. And, the local flair of the crabmeat to make it Shucks own. Instead, A.W. chooses to call the platter a nacho. Damn good they are, no question. But, they sure ain’t nachos. We’ve got to be strict, keep our eyes on the prize, hunt for something true.

The “seafood nacho” is cousin to the “Irish Nacho,” a plate that uses waffle cut fries and not chips. Again, its a hybrid dish. The potato skin not lost completely, just transformed and given new potency with addition of a cooler buzz word. Yes, nachos are “cool.” And, they are delicious. More on the Irish nacho in the coming weeks.

Like the syrian nacho we discussed a few weeks back, this “seafood nacho” speaks to the range of recipes that hinge on some universal notion of the nacho. Some base with cheese, on a plate. The general idea of “nachoness” allows for multiple angles of culinary attack. A.W. Shucks and Freestone’s understand this potential. As nacho hunters, though, we can’t lose focus. We must get beyond the essentialness, and towards a working definition of what really is a nacho.