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Appetizer: White Cheese Nachos

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A blend of white cheeses gives these nachos their good flavor.

A little more elegant than the usual bean-and-cheese nachos are these White Cheese Nachos topped with chopped roasted red pepper or pickled red pepinos. Give them a try this New Year’s Eve.

We melted a combination of mozzarella, cream cheese, a knob of Maytag blue cheese and Spanish manchego. It was an interesting blend, but we’d encourage anyone to try their own favorites. We used only a little of the strong-flavored blue so that nuttiness of the manchego would show through.

De Chanceny Rosé Brut, a cremant from the Loire Valley, was just a little off-dry, but that made it taste good with the buttery cheeses.

The nachos (see recipe below) were good with the remains of a Christmas Day bottle of sparkling rosé carried by Whole Foods — De Chanceny Crémant de Loire Rosé Brut.

White Cheese Nachos

1  cup blend of chopped or grated white melting cheese such as manchego, white cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, etc.
2 ounces good blue cheese, such as Maytag, crumbled
2 ounces cream cheese
Pinch of garlic salt
Pinch of white pepper
Pinch of red cayenne pepper
Two to three pickled or roasted red peppers, such as pepitos or roasted pimentos or bell peppers
16 crisp tostadas made by cutting four corn tortillas into four pieces, frying them in hot oil until crisp, then draining them on paper towels

Preheat the broiler.

In a nonstick skillet, over a medium-low flame, melt all of the cheese and cream cheese, along with garlic salt, white and red peppers. As the cheese is slowly melting, chop the roasted red peppers and set aside.

When the cheese is melting, stir it a few times to blend the cheeses.

Line a baking pan with foil and lay the 16 nacho tostados on top. When the cheese has blended well, use a teaspoon and take generous spoonsful of the cheese to top each tostada chip.  Put the oven rack not on the top rack but the second one, just below it. Set the baking pan under the broiler and watch the cheese as it melts a little more and starts to toast and bubble. Don’t let it burn. Take out the nachos and garnish with the pickled peppers and serve.

Makes 6-8 servings.

From Bonnie Walker

Photographs by Bonnie Walker

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