Quarantine Cuisine: Flock and Cactus Club chef Cory Vitiello’s favourite fully loaded nachos
We’re asking Toronto chefs to show us what they cook up using basic pantry supplies while they self-isolate at home
Like many of us, chef Cory Vitiello is confined to his home. We asked the social-distancing chef to whip us up a meal with ingredients he already had on hand. His recipe: his favourite fully loaded nachos.
Nachos are an event for Cory Vitiello. “It’s not just the nachos, but rather the whole evening that stems from them: dinner on the sofa with loved ones and deep-diving into games night or a great show.” He and his partner, singer-songwriter Martina Sobrara, are currently binge-watching Line of Duty, Cheer and The Outsider. When they’re not Netflix-and-chilling, they’ll play cards or boardgames. “We’re both super competitive and will go at each other’s throats for a couple of hours,” says Vitiello.
But they play nice when it comes to the nachos, which both Vitiello and Sobrara love. “It’s a deep craving Martina and I have, but the recipe itself stems from being frugal and using up leftovers,” says Vitiello. “And that practice is especially relevant in this climate.”
The dish is plant-based but if you need meat, Vitiello said you can easily add shredded chicken or leftover chili. “Basically, any protein that can be broken down to fit on a chip works, but nothing about making this should feel cumbersome.” Vitiello also warns not to get too fancy when it comes to the cheese. “I recommend using a good quality white cheddar, but not something pricey as it’s going to get obliterated in the oven.”
Vitiello is well aware that nachos are a sometimes food. “I’m not going to defend myself here, I love making them and I love eating them,” he says. “Besides, there’s some veg in the mix so I can convince myself it’s on the verge of being a suitable family dinner.” He adds that while no one really needs a recipe for nachos, he says the one below is his favourite version, and his son, Barlow, approves. “He’s very elegant in his eating technique. He licks all the toppings off, and leaves the bare chips behind for us.”
1 cup salsa (Cory made his own, but your favourite jarred kind will do)
1 avocado, diced
2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
2 cups finely shaved red cabbage
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup sour cream mixed with juice of one lime, 1 tsp each of salt and pepper and 1 tsp of hot smoked paprika
5 green onion tops, sliced
2 cups cilantro leaves
1 cup black beans, strained
1/2 pint of sliced cherry tomatoes
Grated cheddar cheese (go light or heavy on it, it’s up to you)
1 bag of tortilla chips
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Then, do as Barlow does and make sure the product is on point.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and layer the chips with grated cheddar cheese, cabbage, half of the jalapeño slices, half of the diced red pepper, black beans and half of the green onions.
Bake until the chips are golden-brown and the cheese is melted and starting to bubble and crisp in some areas. This should all happen around the 10-minute mark.
Top with salsa, sour cream, tomatoes, the avocado and the remaining jalapeño slices and red pepper.
Garnish it all with the cilantro leaves and the remaining green onion.
Have at it.