Shrimp and Blue Cheese Nachos with White Bean Purée
This recipe is really just playing with some of the conventions of a classic. We’ll make rectangular nacho chips (it just looks cool), and we’ll use a white bean purée instead of more traditional refried beans.
The flavors in this work great together as well – shrimp, blue cheese, lime, garlic, cilantro, and white bean purée. When you put the whole thing together, it’s really fantastic, and I encourage you to try it.
1 lb large shrimp
12 white corn tortillas (makes 2 dozen chips)
Jalapeño pickling brine (just a bit of the brine from a jar of jalapeños)
Cayenne Pepper(to taste)
Red Bell Pepper
1 cup White Beans (like Great Northern)
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
White Bean Purée
Start by cooking 1 cup of dry white beans. Bring the beans to a boil, and then simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until tender. It’s also not necessary to soak the beans in this case, since we’re going to make a purée.
Once the beans are done, drain excess liquid, and purée in a food processor with, cumin, 2 cloves of garlic, cayenne pepper, a splash of white wine, a splash of jalapeño pickling brine, the juice of a lime, a tablespoon or two of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. It’s best to do this while the beans are still hot. This will cook a bit of the rawness out of the garlic, and
cook a bit of the alcohol out of the wine. It will also give you a much smoother purée.
Set this aside, and keep it warm for when it’s time to spread this on your chips.
Start by cutting your tortillas into uniform rectangles (or any shape that you like really). Coat each side with olive oil, and spread on a baking sheet. Bake them in a preheated oven at 425 degrees. These will bake fairly quickly, so keep a close on eye on them. Bake for a approximately 5-7 minutes on one side, then flip them and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes. When they’re golden and crisp, place them on a drying rack or paper towel for later.
Marinate your peeled and deveined shrimp (you can leave the tails on if you like) briefly before cooking in olive oil, white wine, chili powder, cayenne pepper, 3-4 cloves of minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
When you’re ready, sauté the shrimp in olive oil, over medium heat. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook several batches of shrimp. It’s important that each individual shrimp has ample space in the pan to cook properly, and caramelize.
Once all of the shrimp is cooked, drizzle the juice of half a lime over it and prep your sauce.
To prep the sauce, turn the heat to high, and pour in your marinade. When it’s really sizzling, deglaze with white wine, and let it reduce by approximately half. When it’s done, add salt and pepper to taste, and remove it from the heat. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime (doing this now keeps the flavor bright), and you’re ready to put your nachos together.
Assembling the Nachos
These nachos don’t require baking. So once you assemble them, they’re ready to eat. Start by putting a schmear of warm white bean purée on each chip, then place a shrimp in the white bean base. Add a piece of cilantro, slices of fresh jalapeño and red bell pepper, and add two or three crumbs of blue cheese (you don’t need a lot of blue cheese here).
When that’s done, spoon a bit of your garlic sauce from the shrimp over the nachos, and garnish with a bit more chopped cilantro.