Classically trained chefs across the country have been recasting manly mainstays as something fresh and bold, and nachos are the newest target. We called on chef Eduardo Ruiz from the progressive pan-Latin restaurant Corazón y Miel in Bell, California to show us how duck fat and a bit of French tradition play into this masculine staple. “As chefs, it’s in our nature to swag things out,” says Ruiz. “The bar is set so low for nachos that anything seems possible.”
Eduardo Ruiz’s Duck-Breast Nachos
The Corazón y Miel chef takes refined French techniques and ingredients to a lower level in the very best way.
3 roma tomatoes, quartered
1 onion, quartered
2 jalapeños, halved lengthwise
2 garlic cloves
2 dried guajillo chilies, stems off
2 dried arbol chilies, stems off
2 duck breasts, skin on
10 oz. cooked pinto beans (canned beans will work)
1 bag of your favorite tortilla chips
8 oz. shredded Manchego cheese
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar
1. Preheat oven broiler to 500 degrees. Place tomatoes, onion, jalapeños and garlic on an oven-safe tray. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables. Place tray in oven for 15 minutes until vegetables are golden brown.
2. Place guajillo and arbol chili peppers in a saucepan and cover with water. Place pan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
3. While vegetables are in oven and chilies are cooking, rinse duck breasts and pat dry with a paper towel. Using a sharp knife, score each duck-breast skin about 10 times, creating a crosshatch pattern.
4. Warm a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, then drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil in it. Place duck breasts in skillet, skin-side down, and cook for 12 minutes, until skin is golden brown. Flip duck breasts and cook for five minutes. Turn off heat and let breasts rest in skillet.
5. To make salsa: Remove cooked vegetables from oven and place in a blender with chilies and remaining water. Add a tablespoon of salt and blend until smooth. Add water as needed.
6. To make duck-fat refried beans: Remove duck breasts from skillet and turn up heat. To the residual duck fat in the skillet add cooked beans and bean liquid. Once hot, smash beans with a spoon or fork. Remove from skillet.
Place tortilla chips in cast-iron skillet and top with duck-fat refried beans, salsa, cheese and sliced duck breast. Place in preheated 450-degree oven until cheese melts (about five minutes). Top with fresh cilantro, sliced radishes and cherry tomatoes.
Sliced radishes, chopped cilantro, halved cherry -tomatoes