Nachos on the move: Out of the oven and onto the grill

Nachos on the move: Out of the oven and onto the grill

July 24th, 2013 by Barry Courter in Life Entertainment

Corn and steak grilled nachos

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Corn And Steak Grilled Nachos

3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle chilies in adobo)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, plus extra

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

9 ounces beef sirloin, thinly sliced (can substitute pre-sliced "stir-fry" beef)

1 ear corn, husked

11-ounce bag corn tortilla chips

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters

1/3 cup pepperoncini, stemmed and thinly sliced

1/2 small red onion, diced

Before turning on the grill, make sure the baking sheet you plan to use fits on it with the lid down. If it doesn't, you can divide the ingredients into multiple smaller pans, even metal cake or pie pans. The smaller pans also can be cooked in batches, if needed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the adobo sauce, tomato paste, oil, garlic powder and salt. Add the steak and mix to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to overnight.

When ready to cook, heat the grill to medium-high.

Rub the corn with a bit of canola oil, then set it on the grill. Cook the corn, turning often, until lightly browned on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the corn to a plate and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, use an oil-soaked paper towel held with tongs to coat the grill grates with oil. Add the steak and grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Leave the grill on, but reduce the heat to low.

Arrange the tortilla chips in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread the steak evenly over the chips.

Cut the corn kernels from the cobs. To do this, stand the ear on its wide end, then use a knife to saw down the length of the sides. Scatter the corn kernels over the steak and chips, then scatter the cheese over that. Set the baking sheet on the grill, cover the grill and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Remove the baking sheet from the grill, then scatter the tomatoes, pepperoncini and diced onion over the other toppings. Serve immediately. Servings: 6.

-- The Associated Press

Grilled Monterey Jack and Corn Quesadillas

4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated (about 11/2 cups)

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo

4 (8-inch) flour tortillas

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Stir together cheese, corn, mayonnaise, scallions, cilantro, and chiles in a small bowl. Lightly brush 1 tortilla with some of oil. Turn tortilla over and spread 1/2 cup filling over half, then fold other half over to form a half-moon. Assemble 3 more quesadillas in same manner.

Heat lightly oiled grill pan over moderate heat until hot, then cook quesadillas, 2 at a time, turning over once, until cheese is melted, about 4 minutes total per batch. Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half. Makes 2 to 4 servings.


Nachos on the Grill with Tomatillo-Poblano Salsa

16 ounces baked or fried tortilla chips (combination of blue and yellow)

3/4 pound Monterey jack cheese, shredded

3/4 pound white Cheddar, shredded

Tomatillo-Poblano Salsa, recipe follows

Preheat grill. Place a large cast iron pan on the grates of the grill and let heat for 5 minutes. Place 1/3 of the chips in the pan and top with 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat to make 3 layers. Close the cover of the grill and grill until the cheese has melted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and top with the 3 toppings.

Tomatillo-Poblano Salsa

8 tomatillos, husked and washed

2 poblano chile peppers

1 red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices

Canola oil, for brushing vegetables, plus 1/2 cup

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1 lime, juiced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the grill to high. Brush tomatillos, poblanos, and onions with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until charred on all sides, and then place the poblanos in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam 15 minutes. Remove the skin, stem and seeds of poblanos, and then coarsely chop and place in a blender or food processor with the tomatillos, onions, garlic and lime juice. Process until beginning to become smooth, and then add the cilantro. Process until completely smooth, and season with salt and pepper.

-- Bobby Flay,

The outdoor grill, long known as the go-to tool for putting a char on hot dogs, hamburgers and other large chunks of meat, can be used for so much more.

"A lot of people don't realize they can use their grill as an oven," says Clay Dennis, owner of Southern Hearth & Patio and a Kansas City BBQ certified judge. "You don't get the heat [in the house] or the mess, so you can be sloppier."

In fact, only your imagination stands between you and fabulous appetizers, desserts, sides and entrees cooked over an open flame. And nachos.

Yes, nachos.

Doing them over charcoal or gas and not in a microwave gives you a crispier chip that doesn't become rubbery by the end of the meal. Add in the smokiness you get by cooking the meat and corn on the grill, and you get a whole new way to enjoy nachos.

Dennis, who does cooking-on-the-grill demonstrations, has dozens of grill recipes on the Southern Hearth & Patio website. Among them are recipes for cooking everything from pizzas to Peanut Butter Bananas Melties to Grilled Monterey Jack and Corn Quesadillas.

"The great thing about cooking over the grill is you are not spoiling the flavors of the food," says Jesse Rogers, chief operating officer at Sugars on the Ridge. "You get the flavors of what it is supposed to taste like with a little smokiness. If you want corn, you want it to taste like corn. Or okra.

"Really, it's the best way to cook most things," she says.

J.M. Hirsch, food editor for The Associated Press, says he was "blown away by the difference between nuking my nachos and baking them in the oven."

"Texture alone was remarkably improved. No more soggy chips ... And that says nothing of the wonderful browning of the cheese no microwave ever could achieve," he says.

Then it occurred to him that the grill is just an outdoor oven.

"The point, of course, is not merely to use the grill as an outdoor oven, though in summer sometimes that is justification enough, but rather to use the power of the grill to impart a delicious smokiness to the nachos," Hirsch says. "And that is why the corn and the steak that eventually land on the nachos first get cooked on the grates."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Contact staff writer Barry Courter at or at 423-757-6354.

Grilling is a whole new way to enjoy nachos.

Grilling is a whole new way to enjoy...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.