Top snacks for Super Bowl Sunday
By Thomas Willoughby
Any other year, the group chat would be popping right about now. Who’s hosting? Who’s bringing the drinks? Anyone sorting out lifts? You know, the vital details everyone needs to know heading into Super Bowl Sunday. Sadly, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, there’s a pandemic on. The traditional get together has been cast aside for a zoom call. Any plans you had for a party have to be adapted.
Your party has been cut down from 7 or 8 to everyone in your immediate household, but that doesn’t mean the event will go unmarked. While the festivities will be cut to a minimum, you can still make a feast of it. Just as important as the game itself is the spread you put on, and there’s no reason you can’t have yourself a delicious evening. There’s more to Super Bowl Sunday than just football, you know.
That’s where your friend Willo comes in. Given the opportunity to finally put my catering GCSE to use, The Touchdown’s resident food eating guy has some suggestions for your Super Bowl spread. So, put the helmet back on the shelf, cancel your “big night in” order, and pull on an apron. Here’s what you need to do the night justice.
Often overlooked, but delicious nevertheless, potato skins are probably as straightforward a Super Bowl snack as you’re likely to put together. You’re basically crisping up the best bit of a jacket potato, melting an abundance of cheese in the pocket, and topping with, well, whatever, really.
There really isn’t a great deal more to add. If you’re feeling decadent, you could repurpose the scooped-out potato insides into some sort of mashed potato, and stuff it back into the skins. That’s neither here nor there. But, as “simplyrecipes.com” points out, it’s just a really easy recipe to put together.
Onion rings are seriously underrated. Just in general. Whether they’re homemade, or from a bag, onion rings are just brilliant. The battered kind, not breaded. I’m no food scientist, but batter makes everything better, but cooking a sliced onion in said batter? Whatever goes on in the cooking process is a gift from heaven. A marvel.
If you’re looking to put some of your own creations on your table, justataste.com is a great place to start. They, of course, opt to use a beer batter. If you can’t consume alcohol, I’d recommend swapping it out for sparkling water for something closer to a tempura batter. Though the recipe itself states any carbonated beverage will do just fine.
A word to the wise: put your sliced onion rings in the freezer for half an hour or so before battering and frying them. It makes it easier to remove the film-like membrane you find between layers on an onion. Don’t say I don’t have any good ideas.
A classic. Nachos are easy, quick, and utterly delicious. The crisp and the saltiness of the crisps, the gentle heat of the salsa, and the gooeyness from the melted cheese. These are on my menu this coming Sunday, and I’m already excited. You cannot go wrong with Nachos. You’ve seriously messed up if they’re bad.
It’s easy, really. Either just pour a share-sized bag of tortilla chips on a tray, cover in salsa and grated cheese, and whack in the oven for 5-10ish minutes. Serve with the traditional dips, and top with some chicken, if you like. A lot of places even do a nachos kit with everything you need in it. Just do it, my guy. It’s easy.
For those hoping to do a bit more, can I interest you in making your own tortilla chips? allrecipes.com is a really great starting point in that regard. Get yourself some corn tortilla wraps, divvy them into chip-sized triangles, and give them a toss in some oil. Season, then into a 170c oven for about 15 minutes, flipping over at the halfway mark. Let them cool down, THEN get your salsa and cheese atop, and throw it back into the oven for a bit. You’re welcome.
If, for whatever reason, nachos aren’t your bag, give loaded fries a whirl. The concept is, effectively, the same, you’re just swapping tortilla chips for, well, fries. Of course, given tortilla chips are far crunchier than fries, you’ve got to make an adjustment as to the toppings. For all intents and purposes, however, the concept is the same.
You could quite easily top some oven fries with a cheese sauce, some bacon bits, some taco-seasoned beef, or whatever. But this is the Super Bowl. Let’s go all-in and make our own fries. “But Willo.” I hear you ask, “Won’t I need to deep fry them to get the crunchy outside that makes fries fries?” To that I say: NO. Adam Ragusea, online cooking extraordinaire, has devised a way to get crispy fries, without a deep frier. Check it out.
Again, slather over a cheese sauce, top with whatever takes your fancy, and there you go. Deep-fried loaded fries, without a deep fryer in sight. You cannot ask for much more than that.
Back in the 2017-18 season, the Philadelphia Eagles, supported by my friend Jamie, made the Super Bowl. We barrelled down to Southampton the afternoon of the game, and got ready for an evening of being honourary Eagles. To celebrate the occasion, we tried our hands at Philadelphia’s most famous culinary contribution to the world of food. I’m delighted to report that Philly Cheesesteaks are absolutely worth it.
Let’s be honest, it’s difficult to get wrong. It’s steak, cheese, and fried onions. If you’re feeling exotic, you can get some peppers in there too. The combination of everything is just…well you can’t see this, but I’m doing a chef’s kiss from behind the keyboard. I’d recommend Not Another Cooking Show’s recipe as the one to follow. Especially if you want to feel hungry as you’re watching it.
Provolone is pretty difficult to find here (I’m not sure I’ve seen it anywhere), but you can get away with any sort of meltable cheese here. If you’ve got the time, you can do what we did and make a cheese sauce to merge into the meat and onion mixture. Either way, Philly Cheesesteaks. Give it a go.
Mac and Cheese
A big hitter. Despite its, umm, let’s say “questionable” introduction to the states, the combination of cooked pasta and a rich cheese sauce has made Mac and Cheese a staple of the American experience. Frankly, you’d be a fool to not put together a dish.
Given it’s often the first thing I look for on any menu, I consider myself something of a Mac and Cheese connoisseur. A Maconnoisseur, if you will. I have no qualms, then, pointing you in the direction of my go-to recipe whenever I want to eat my bodyweight in melted cheese. Anna Mae’s “CheesusLovesYou” should be on every table this Sunday.
Just as an FYI: if, like me, you can’t find Montery Jack (why doesn’t anyone seem to sell it?), swap in gruyere. What you get is a sauce that is beautifully consistent, and rich with flavours. Oh, and absolutely top with mozzarella, or a combination of cheddar and mozzarella. That “stringy” texture is an absolute must.
I think it should be pretty clear at this point, but I am not vegan. I do recognise, however, that a lot of people are. I would be doing them a disservice if I didn’t offer a suggestion that isn’t a combination of meat and cheese. Not being vegan myself, I wouldn’t feel confident offering, well, anything. I did reach out to my friend Clara, however, who emphatically stated the cauliflower wings are her go-to Super Bowl snack. To be fair, they do look good.
Effectively, you’re coating cauliflower florets in a batter, and baking them. Similar to how you would a chicken wing, or something. Once they’re all golden, put them in a mixing bowl, toss in a buffalo sauce to coat, and stick them back in the oven for a bit longer. The sauce will cause it to get all crispy and, from what I’m told, properly lovely.
There’s a pretty straightforward recipe here. Why not give something a bit different a go, eh?
We need to talk about burgers. In particular, how you’re preparing them. Listen, there’s nothing wrong with a thick burger patty with a big cheese and ketchup, but it’s time to see that there’s a better way. Smash burgers are, as far as I’m concerned, the only way to serve your ground beef. Stack up a couple of them, and the job’s a good’un.
I have to stress that this piece isn’t sponsored by them, but this is exactly how renowned chain Five Guys serve up their delights. The best fast-food burger you can get, in my opinion, is properly easy to go at home. Just follow the example of online cooking sensation, Binging with Babish, on their guest episode with First We Feast. You can’t go wrong.
It is scientifically proven that developing a crust on minced beef makes it taste better. With a smash burger, not only do you get that crust, but the cheese itself melts into the crags that form on the patty itself, and you’re left with something utterly delectable. If you’re doing burgers this year, I implore you to go with that of the “smash” variety. Just make sure you don’t make them on a non-stick pan.
It’s alleged that America orders 12.5 million pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday, and for good reason. Pizza is lovely. It’s really, really lovely. Just about every Super Bowl gathering I’ve been to has had it in some form, and you absolutely ought to consider having some on the table ahead of kick-off.
Whether you’re ordering some in, or adding a frozen pie to your weekly shop order, it’s a staple. What if you want to try it yourself though? The previously mentioned Binging With Babish has you covered. Under the guise of making pizza from “TMNT II: Secret of the Ooze”, he shows you how to make a New York-style pizza from scratch, sauce and all.
Whether you decide to go the extra mile or not, however, pizza is a must. You already know that, though.
Onto the big one. Wings are the quintessential Super Bowl dish, and it’s easy to see why. Arguably the best part of a chicken, they’re so delicious you’ll come back for more over and over. Whether coated in a sauce, deep fried, or just roasted as is, you can’t really go wrong.
As far as I’m concerned, wings deep fried served with a side of sauces is the way to go. Much like fries, though, I’m not keen on the whole “deep frying” aspect. Fortunately, thanks to J. Kenji Lopez-Alt in America’s Test Kitchen, there is a way. Coating the wings in salt, baking powder, and cornflour, and leaving them in the fridge, causes the skin to blister. When put in the oven to roast, you essentially get a deep-fried effect, without getting through half a litre of oil.
I can personally attest to this method. I would recommend coating the wings the night before, and leaving them in the fridge uncovered for 18-24 hours before cooking. It really dries the skin out, and makes for a far crispier wing. Then, any sauce you want will do. Barbecue, buffalo, I don’t care. They’re just wonderful. They get my highest recommendation.