Firstly I would like to clarify that I DO NOT support the bastardization of culinary cultures in such flagrant and insulting ways. Having said that, what I am about to describe does just that and is absolutely delicious. I feel dirty even admitting that I liked it. It’s like getting drunk and sleeping with the weird guy in your department during the company Christmas party and then admitting you really enjoyed it, and wouldn’t mind if it happened again (totally hypothetical example here.)
Allow me to set the scene: It was a business lunch meeting and I was the invited one. I, therefore, had zero control over where or what we would eat. The inviter did all the ordering and I had no choice but to eat and smile. This is me trying to defer responsibility and remove myself from the decision making process; thus feeling a little less dirty.
Okay I have prepped you enough, here is what happened. My colleague took me to Boccini, in the Avenues Mall in Kuwait. On its sign it claim to be “modern Italian Food.” As soon as we sat down, my colleague ordered the Boccini Nachos, even before ordering our drinks. I look at the menu and this is how they are described: Boccini Nachos: Cheese, herbs, olives, tomatoes, onions, spice mix seasoning, parmesan sauce, and pistachio pesto.
These ingredients do not seem shocking on their own until you take into account that they are going to be layered over fried tortillas. The flour tortillas are cut into large wedges, deep fried and generously smothered with all the above ingredients. When I say generously, I mean unapologetically overloaded as though toppings were going out of style.
The olives are from a can, the parmesan sauce is straight up heavy cream with a touch of cheese flavoring, and I do not know what ‘spice mix seasoning’ really is. I was apprehensive and a little snobby when they arrived. I’m not a big nacho fan to begin with, and here comes the Italianized edition. Needles to say, my expectations were low. I thought I would take a slice, nibble a small corner, put it on my plate and ignore it politely. I am ashamed to say that things did not go as planned.
I was not anticipating these frankenachos to be so delicious. The tortillas were soaked in parmesan sauce, enough to get them a little soft but not too much to loose their crispiness. They were in that perfect state of crunggy (both crunchy and soggy). The pistachio pesto was flawlessly dotted throughout the dish, blending ever so slightly with the melted cheese. The vegetables provided the freshness to balance this oil-heavy dish. Those ‘out-of-a-can’ olives I was turning my nose up to earlier were a necessary evil, I realized, as they provide the salty-brininess that cuts through the fat. And I still do not know what ‘spice mix seasonings are’, but I think I’m addicted. I not only ate the wedge I was planing on ignoring, but also devoured 3/4 of the dish by myself.
Now usually the toppings on regular nachos are unevenly distributed. They are piled high in the middle and then heat is applied. You have the top-middle chips that are one big ball of cheese and toppings, while the bottom and periphery chips are as dry as week old biscotti. These dirty Italian nachos were perfectly layered, each triangle is covered with each and every ingredient. No matter how far down I ate, the crunchy tortilla had a layer of cheese, vegetables, and pesto. It was like someone painstakingly coated one chip at a time. Please refer to picture below.
Italian, Mexican, and Tex-Mex food purists will have a hard time accepting this dish into their repertoire. I get it. It is like your trashy second cousin that always shows up drunk, makes a sense, gets you kicked out of bars, and passes out in the back of a police car at the end of the night.
It is embarrassing to admit that she is family, but you know when she is around, it is going to be a fun and dirty night (again, totally hypothetical example). Well this is what this dish does to your taste buds. It takes them on a sloppy rollercoaster ride of flavors and textures and it leaves them feeling hungover. I don’t know if I could ever bring myself to make these at home, but I wouldn’t mind too much if it happened again in my mouth. That is what she said!