Arizona Cheese Crisp

Arizona Cheese Crisp

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings

The sloping sides of a wok allow you to easily curl the edges of the tortilla as it deep-fries. If you wish, you may deep-fry the tortilla flat in a large skillet.

Vegetable oil for deep-frying
2 (10- or 12-inch) flour tortillas
1 to 1-1/2 cups (4 to 6 ounces) shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup picante sauce
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Pour oil into wok to depth of 1 inch. Place over medium-high heat until oil registers 360°F on deep-frying thermometer. Slide 1 tortilla into oil. Using 2 slotted spoons, gently hold center of tortilla down so oil flows over edges. When tortilla is crisp and golden on bottom, carefully tilt wok, holding tortilla in place with spoon, to cover edge of tortilla with oil; cook until lightly browned. Rotate tortilla as needed so entire edge is lightly browned. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels, curled side down. Repeat with second tortilla. Tortillas can be made up to 8 hours in advance. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place shells, curled side up, on baking sheet. Sprinkle each with half of the Cheddar cheese; top each with half of the picante sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, 8 to 10 minutes or until cheeses melt. To serve, break into bite-size pieces.

Olive Cheese Crisp: Follow directions for Arizona Cheese Crisp but omit picante sauce and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle 1/3 cup sliced pitted ripe olives and 1/3 cup diced green chilies over Cheddar cheese. Chorizo Cheese Crisp: Remove casing from 1/4 pound chorizo sausage. Crumble sausage into large skillet; stir over medium-high heat until browned. Drain fat. Follow directions for Arizona Cheese Crisp but substitute chorizo for Parmesan cheese.