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Grilled Turbot with Celery Leaf Salsa Verde

Grilled Turbot with Celery Leaf Salsa Verde


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This recipe originally called for enveloping the fish in fig leaves. They permeate the flesh, giving it a nutty flavor, and serve as both a shield to protect the flesh and a beautiful platter. But we've simplified things so you can grill the fish in a foil packet. Don’t fret if you can’t find turbot. Look out for other flatfish such as Dover sole or flounder. For a long, lazy lunch menu serve this fish alongside sea bream crudo, tomatoes and haricots verts, handmade malfatti, and tiramisù with cookies.

Ingredients

  • 2 whole turbot (about 3 lb. each), heads and fins removed, split in half along the backbone
  • 1¼ cups extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 sprigs rosemary, divided
  • 1½ cups finely chopped parsley
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • ½ tsp. Aleppo-style or other mild red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Aioli or store-bought mayonnaise (for serving)

Recipe Preparation

  • Prepare a grill for medium-low indirect heat (for a gas grill, leave one or two burners off; for a charcoal grill, bank coals on one side of grill). Tear off 4 large sheets of foil. Rub fish with ½ cup oil (2 Tbsp. per piece) and season with salt. Working one at a time, place a fillet in the center of a sheet of foil and top with 2 rosemary sprigs. Fold in short sides of foil over fish, then fold in long sides and roll edges together to seal.

  • Place pouches on cool side of grill, cover grill, and cook fish, turning once, 20–25 minutes. Open a pouch to check fish. Flesh should be slightly opaque and the tip of a knife should slide through easily. Grill a little longer if needed.

  • Meanwhile, combine parsley, celery leaves, and garlic in a medium bowl. Finely zest lemon into bowl, then squeeze in juice. Add red pepper flakes and mix in remaining ¾ cup oil; season with salt and black pepper. Let salsa verde sit 10 minutes for flavors to come together.

  • Transfer fish to a platter and serve with salsa verde and aioli.

Reviews Section

Grilled Turbot with Celery Leaf Salsa Verde - Recipes

Come along for a mouthwatering ride and catch the spirit of pop-up cooking with Moveable Feast with Relish. Australia’s top celebrity chef Curtis Stone, stand-up comedian and chef Alex Thomopoulos, and author and James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein team up with some of the most innovative chefs and food artisans as they cook up a feast using the best seasonal ingredients and each region’s little-known food treasures. This season, follow along as Alex samples the best of New England cuisine, including an excursion to Martha’s Vineyard.

Sunset feast at the Beach Plum Inn in Martha’s Vineyard, MA, featuring acclaimed chefs, Jessica B. Harris and Jan Buhrman and hosted by Alex Thomopoulos.


Here are 3 HEALTHY WAYS to cook Turbot Fish:

Baking fish allows you to get the satisfying crunch of fried fish without all the fat. Tip: Baking can only be a healthy method if you find a good balance between the amount of oil and butter used! Here are 2 baked recipes to try:

A healthy and tasty french cuisine perfect for classic French dining night. With simple ingredients like potatoes, dijon mustard, and lemon juice, you get an authentic taste of France!

(Image by Philoso Kitchen)

Buttery Baked Turbot Fish by Jessica
The ultimate recipe for a home-cooked meal! Having the turbot baked with a buttery garlic sauce as the main dish, you can serve it with rice and vegetables.


The best of River Cafe Easy

H ere are recipes from the River Cafe to brighten up the dullest of winter days - crisp, crunchy, punchy puntarelle alla Romana big flavoured pappardelle with pancetta and tomato unctuous slow-cooked pork shoulder and a sensuous, sensational coffee, walnut and hazelnut cake - all in the great tradition of Italian regional cooking. River Cafe has been one of the most influential restaurants of recent years, but these aren't restaurant dishes. The roots of the River Cafe food are in la cucina rustica, Italian farmhouse cooking, and these recipes developed by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers are as easy to cook as they are to eat. They are classics in a real sense - classic ingredients, classic combinations, classic flavour - making the beauties of the Italian kitchen accessible to anyone interested in cooking. What could be easier? Recipes serve four.
Matthew Fort

Puntarelle alla Romana

Puntarelle heads 2
Salted anchovies 5
Red-wine vinegar 2 tbsp
Garlic clove 1
Dried chillies 2
Black pepper 1 tsp
Extra-virgin olive oil
Lemon 1

To prepare puntarelle, fill a bowl with cold water and ice cubes. Pull the hollow buds from the puntarelle heads. Using a small knife, slice the buds very thinly lengthways. Place in the water to crisp and curl up. This will take an hour.

Rinse and fillet the anchovies, cut into 1cm pieces, and place in a small bowl. Cover with the vinegar, and stir to allow the anchovies to dissolve. Peel and chop the garlic very finely and add to the anchovies with the crumbled chilli and pepper. Leave for 15 minutes, and then add four tablespoons of olive oil.

Spin-dry the puntarelle as you would a salad. Place in a bowl and spoon over the anchovy sauce. Serve with lemon.

This unusual salad is traditionally Roman. Puntarelle now comes into the New Covent Garden market, which supplies specialist greengrocers and Italian restaurants. The season starts in November and ends in February.

Beef carpaccio

Beef fillet 500g
Extra-virgin olive oil 350ml
Pine nuts 50g
Parmesan 100g
Lemons 2

Cut the fillet at a slight angle into 2mm slices. Lay each slice on clingfilm, and cover with another piece of clingfilm. Beat flat to extend and thin out each slice.

Pour in olive oil to cover the bottom of a dish that will hold the beef slices in two layers. Season the fillet generously on both sides, and arrange a layer in the dish. Pour over more olive oil and repeat with another layer. The slices should be submerged. Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for half an hour.

Lightly toast the pine nuts over a gentle heat in a dry frying pan. Shave the Parmesan into slithers. To serve, lift the beef slices from the marinade and put on a plate. Scatter with the pine nuts and Parmesan. Serve with lemon.

This unusual version of carpaccio comes from Verona and is often served with grilled radicchio. Ask for short fillet, the fine-grained centre cut otherwise known as the chateaubriand.

Broccoli, red wine

Sprouting broccoli 750g
Garlic clove 1
Lambrusco red wine 750ml
Extra-virgin olive oil

Cut the spears from the broccoli heads. Discard the big stalks. Remove the bigger and tougher leaves. Cut each spear of broccoli in two. Peel and cut the garlic in half.

Put the broccoli and garlic into a medium, thick-bottomed saucepan, then add enough wine to half-cover the broccoli. Add a similar quantity of water to completely cover the broccoli. Season, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.

La Latteria is a tiny, family-run restaurant situated in an old dairy in the market in Milan, with just a few shared tables and wonderful, simple, original food. This seasonal soup using sprouting broccoli and young, local red wine such as Lambrusco is surprisingly delicious. Choose leafy purple-sprouting broccoli and include the small leaves in the soup.

Savoy cabbage, ricotta, crostini

Savoy cabbage 1/2
Garlic clove 1
Parmesan 50g
Ricotta 100g
Extra-virgin olive oil
Ciabatta slices 4
Chicken stock cubes 3

Remove the tough outer leaves of the cabbage and core. Slice the cabbage and wash thoroughly. Peel the garlic, and grate the Parmesan. Dissolve the stock cubes in a litre of boiling water. Mix the ricotta with salt, pepper and a tablespoon of olive oil.

Bring the stock to the boil, add the cabbage, and cook until very tender.

Grill the ciabatta slices (or crostini) and lightly rub with garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and put a spoonful of ricotta on top, pressing it gently into the surface.

Place a crostini in each soup bowl. Spoon over the cabbage, then ladle in the stock. Drizzle with olive oil and serve sprinkled with Parmesan.

Good-quality stock cubes are an easy alternative to homemade broth. Italians would make their own broth with a boiling fowl, celery, carrots, parsley and onion, boiled for two to two and a half hours. Traditionally, clear soups include either pasta or crostini to make them more of a meal.

Pappardelle, pancetta, tomato

Egg pappardelle 320g
Plum tomatoes 6
Pancetta slices 150g
Dried chillies 2
Parmesan 100g
Unsalted butter 150g
Double cream 150ml

Skin the tomatoes, then deseed and roughly chop the flesh. Cut the pancetta into 2cm pieces. Crumble the chilli and grate the Parmesan.

Melt the butter in a thick-bottomed pan, add the pancetta and chilli, and cook gently until the pancetta begins to colour. Add the tomato, season and cook gently for 10 minutes. Add the cream and cook for 10 minutes more.

Cook the pappardelle in boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain and add the pasta to the sauce. Stir in half the Parmesan. Serve with the remaining Parmesan.

Pancetta is the cured belly of pork either salted and dried (stesa) or smoked (affumicata). Pancetta stesa is sometimes cured with herbs such as rosemary and/or black pepper. Pancetta affumicata is usually leaner and should be cut finer as it can be tough. We try to use a fatty stesa in this recipe, which is slowly cooked to release its delicious juices. When choosing pancetta, look for even layers of fat and meat and a sweet perfume - a porky smell indicates lack of ageing and will affect the flavour of the sauce.

Linguine, crab

Linguine 320g
Crab meat 400g
Fennel bulb 1
Garlic clove 1
Fennel seeds 1 tbsp
Dried chillies 2
Lemon 1
Extra-virgin olive oil

Remove the tough outer part and stalk of the fennel. Slice the bulb as finely as you can across the grain. Keep any of the green tops. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Crush the fennel seeds and crumble the chilli. Grate the zest of the lemon, and squeeze the juice.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a thick-bottomed pan, add the garlic, fennel seeds and chilli, and cook to soften. Add the crab, lemon juice and zest, and season. Stir through, just to heat up the crab.

Cook the linguine in boiling, salted water for five minutes, then add the fennel slices and cook together until al dente. Drain the pasta, keeping a little of the water, and add to the crab mixture. Stir thoroughly to combine, adding a little of the reserved water to loosen the sauce if necessary. Serve with olive oil.

If cooking crab yourself, buy them live and choose one or two large crabs - it will be much easier to pick the meat out from them than from many small ones. Cock crabs (males) have larger claws and a higher proportion of white meat. Spider crabs are very sweet and good for this recipe, though it takes longer to pick out the meat than from the common crab, as the meat-to-shell ratio is lower.

Smashed cannellini, olives

Dried cannellini beans 150g
Bicarbonate of soda 1 tbsp
Dried chillies 2
Young spinach 500g
Garlic cloves 2
Sage leaves 2 tbsp
Small black olives 100g
Extra-virgin olive oil

Soak the beans overnight with the bicarbonate of soda. Crumble the chillies. Wash the spinach and remove any tough stalks. Peel the garlic.

Rinse the beans under cold water. Put the beans in a saucepan with the garlic and sage, cover with water and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add a tablespoon of sea salt and cook until tender - about 45 minutes in total. Drain, keep the garlic and discard the sage. Add three tablespoons of olive oil, and roughly smash the beans and garlic. Season with half the chilli and black pepper.

Boil the spinach in salted water for three minutes, then drain. Press gently to remove excess moisture. While it's still warm, season and mix in a tablespoon of olive oil.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil, add the olives, some black pepper and a pinch of chilli. Fry for a minute. Put the spinach and cannellini beans on plates, scatter the olives over the top and sprinkle with chilli.

Try to find Taggiasca olives, which come from the Ligurian coast. Usually preserved in brine, they are deep purple, small and have a fruity flavour. They are similar to Nicoise olives.

Roast potatoes in a pan

Waxy potatoes 600g
Rosemary leaves 2 tbsp
Garlic cloves 3
Extra-virgin olive oil

Peel and cut the potatoes into 2cm cubes. Chop the rosemary. Peel the garlic cloves and cut in half.

Heat a thick-bottomed pan with a lid. Add sufficient olive oil to cover the bottom. When very hot, add the potatoes, rosemary and garlic, season generously and cover.

Cook over a medium high heat, shaking the pan to prevent them from sticking. Make sure the potatoes are turned over so they become crisp and brown on all sides. This will take 15 minutes.

This recipe is for roast potato lovers who do not have an oven. It is a very traditional Italian recipe and is often on the menu in Tuscan trattorias.

Crab, chilli, fennel (Serves 2)

Live crabs 2 x 800g
Garlic cloves 8
Fresh root ginger 70g
Fennel seeds 1 tbsp
Fresh red chillies 4
Fennel herb 4 tbsp
Lemons 3
Tomatoes 4
Extra-virgin olive oil 4 tbsp
White wine 200ml

Peel and finely slice the garlic and ginger. Crush the fennel seeds. Wash and slice the chillies diagonally into rings, letting some of the seeds fall out. Wash and chop the fennel. Squeeze the juice of two lemons. Cut the remaining lemon into quarters. Peel, deseed and roughly chop the tomatoes.

Cut each crab in half and then in half again. Use a hammer roughly to break the shell in the claws and thicker legs.

Heat the oil in a large, thick-bottomed pan with a well-fitting lid. Add the crab, garlic, ginger, fennel seeds and chilli. Stir briefly, then add the tomatoes, wine and half the lemon juice. Season generously with salt and pepper, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the fennel and the remaining lemon juice. Serve with the juices in a large bowl, with a lemon quarter.

You have to buy small crabs, one per person, for this recipe. Versions of this recipe can be found from China through India and into the Mediterranean.

Poached turbot, salsa verde

Flat-leaf parsley leaves 2 tbsp
Mint leaves 1 tbsp
Extra-virgin olive oil
Garlic clove 1
Capers 1 tbsp
Anchovy fillets 3
Dijon mustard 1 tbsp
Red-wine vinegar 1 tbsp

Turbot tranches 4
Fennel seeds 1 tbsp
Garlic bulb 1/2
Parsley stalks 4
Black peppercorns 2 tbsp
White wine 350ml

For the salsa verde, chop the parsley and mint, put into a bowl and cover with olive oil. Peel the garlic, and chop with the capers and anchovies. Add to the herbs and mix. Stir in the mustard and vinegar, season and add more olive oil to loosen the sauce.

In a saucepan wide enough to fit the turbot pieces in one layer, add all the ingredients except for the fish. Add a litre and a half of water and boil for 30 minutes. Reduce to a simmer and add the fish. The fish should be covered by the liquid - top up with hot water if necessary. Poach for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat, and drain.

Serve hot or at room temperature, with the salsa verde.

The flavour of the broth should be delicate and fresh. Choose a light dry white wine such as pinot bianco.

Pork shoulder, slow-cooked

Pork shoulder 2kg
Garlic cloves 6
Lemon 1
Unsalted butter 150g
Extra-virgin olive oil 2 tbsp
Sage leaves 2 tbsp
White wine 250ml
Milk 250ml

Ask your butcher to bone out the piece of shoulder and remove the skin. (For four people, you would need half a small shoulder.) Peel the garlic and cut each clove in half. Peel the rind from the lemon. Season the piece of pork generously all over.

Heat half the butter with the olive oil in a medium, thick-bottomed saucepan with a lid, just large enough to hold the pork. Brown the meat on all sides. Drain off excess oil, then add the remaining butter, the garlic, sage and lemon peel. Fry to colour the garlic, then add half the wine. Reduce the heat, half-cover and simmer very slowly for three hours, adding more wine to keep a fraction of liquid in the pan at all times.

Start adding the milk after all the wine has evaporated. The milk should begin to curdle and thicken in the last half-hour. The pork will be cooked when you can break it up with a spoon.

Choose your pork shoulder carefully. It should have a thick layer of fat beneath the skin. The fat renders down in the very slow cooking, keeping the meat moist and tender.

Veal shin, butter, white wine

Veal shin 1
Garlic cloves 14
Ciabatta slices 4
Unsalted butter 100g
Thyme sprigs 3-4
White wine 200ml
Extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Season the meat generously. Peel the garlic.

In a thick-bottomed pan, heat the butter, and brown the meat on all sides. Remove from the pan, discard the butter and put the meat back in the pan. Add 12 of the garlic cloves, the thyme and half the wine. Cover with greaseproof paper and the lid, and put into the oven for 15 minutes, basting occasionally. Lower the heat to 170C/325F/gas mark 3, and cook for a further two hours, basting every 20 minutes. Add more wine so there is always about 5mm liquid in the bottom of the pan. After two hours, remove the lid and cook for 15 minutes to brown.

Toast the bread on each side, and rub lightly with the remaining garlic. Drizzle with olive oil. The meat will fall into pieces off the bone. Tap out the marrow. Serve the meat with the juices and a crostini spread with the marrow.

Ask your butcher to cut off the ends of the veal shin bones to reveal the marrow.

Coffee, walnut, hazelnut cake

Instant coffee 5 tbsp
Shelled walnuts 240g
Shelled hazelnuts 240g
Vanilla pods 3
Unsalted butter 380g
Caster sugar 380g
Eggs, organic 5
Plain flour 100g
Baking powder 1 tsp

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3. Using extra butter and flour, grease a 25cm cake tin and line with parchment paper.

Dissolve the coffee in two tablespoons of boiling water. Chop the walnuts. Roast the hazelnuts in the preheated oven until brown (about 10 minutes), cool, then rub off the skins and grind to a fine powder. Finely chop the vanilla pods.

Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and light. Stir in the hazelnuts, walnuts and vanilla pods. Beat the eggs into the mixture one at a time. Fold in the flour and baking powder and finally stir in the coffee. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for an hour and a quarter. Allow to cool on a rack.

Using instant coffee in this recipe is intentional. The cake requires a very strong coffee flavour with as little liquid as possible, which rules out using filter or even espresso coffee.

Roasted almond ice cream

Double cream 400ml
Milk 125ml
Vanilla pod 1
Eggs, organic 4
Caster sugar 90g

Blanched almonds 250g
Creme anglaise 500ml
Unsalted butter 15g
Caster sugar 2 tbsp

First make the creme anglaise - you will need 500ml in all for this recipe. Separate the eggs. Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds. In a thick-bottomed pan, combine the milk, vanilla seeds and cream. Cook until just boiling.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Pour the warm cream/milk slowly into the egg yolks and stir. Return to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. When it is almost at boiling point, remove from heat. If it boils, the sauce will curdle. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Place the almonds on a flat oven tray and bake until lightly brown. Add the butter and sugar, mix and bake for a further 10 minutes. Cool.

Put the almonds on half a kitchen cloth, fold the other half over, and bash into bits with a rolling pin. Stir the almonds into the creme anglaise. Freeze in a shallow container, stirring every half-hour or so, or churn in an ice-cream machine.

Lemon, mascarpone tart

Unsalted butter 225g
Eggs, organic 3
Plain flour 350g
Salt 1/2 tsp
Icing sugar 100g

Lemons 6
Eggs, organic 6
Egg yolks, organic 6
Caster sugar 350g
Mascarpone 300g
Icing sugar 2 tbsp

For the pastry, cut the cold butter into small pieces. Separate the eggs. In a food processor, pulse-chop the flour, salt and butter to the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar and egg yolks, and pulse into a soft ball. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. Coarsely grate the pastry into a loose-bottomed, fluted 26cm flan tin, then press it down evenly to cover the sides and base. Line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 20 minutes. Cool.

Reduce the oven to 140C/275F/gas mark 1. For the filling, grate the lemon zest, squeeze the juice, and mix together. Beat the whole eggs and extra yolks with the sugar. Add the mascarpone, stir to combine, then stir in the lemon mixture.

Pour into the tart shell and bake for an hour. Leave to cool, then sprinkle over the icing sugar.

Rhubarb, orange

Champagne rhubarb 500g
Blood orange 1
Vanilla pods 2
Demerara sugar 3 tbsp
Creme fraiche 150g

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. Cut the rhubarb into 5-6cm lengths. Finely grate the zest of half the orange, then squeeze the juice. Split the vanilla pods, and scrape out some of the seeds.

Lay the rhubarb pieces flat in a small baking dish. Scatter over the vanilla seeds, sugar and orange zest. Add the vanilla pods. Pour over the orange juice and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve with creme fraiche.

Champagne rhubarb is the first bright pink rhubarb to appear in the shops around the end of January. It is a forced variety and is tender and sweet - you hardly need to do anything to it other than add brown sugar. We also add a little orange zest and juice - a classic combination.

· Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray's most recent cookbooks, River Cafe Easy and River Cafe Two Easy, are both published by Ebury Press at £20.


The Cooking of Mexico

Most Americans have ready access to fresh tortillas these days as tortilla manufacturers began popping up in major cities all over the country several years ago. (I remember the days when the only tortillas available came in a can, and I assure you, those were not the "good old days," tortilla-wise.) That's all well and good, but anyone who has made their own fresh homemade tortillas will tell you that even the best of the store-bought tortillas can't compare. You can use a rolling pin if you really want to, but I strongly suggest you buy an inexpensive tortilla press for the best-and easiest-tortillas on your block. Amazon.com has a very good one here .

2 cups (500 ml) masa harina (Mexican corn flour)
1 1/3 cups (330 ml) warm water
1 tsp (5 ml) salt

Mix the ingredients together to form a soft dough. Roll into balls the size of small eggs and place between two pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper in a tortilla press. Flatten to form round disks about 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. (These are the most popular size in Mexico, but they can be made smaller or larger as you prefer.) If the dough sticks to the plastic wrap it is too moist. Scrape it off the plastic wrap and stir in a little more masa harina until the flattened dough comes away from the plastic wrap. Heat a large heavy skillet (or Mexican comal if you have one) over moderate heat and cook the tortillas one at a time until very lightly browned on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Note: the skillet should be dry and ungreased. Serve immediately, or keep warm wrapped in aluminum foil in a 150F (65C) oven for up to several hours before serving. Makes about 24.


Most of my readers will be more familiar with filled tamales than with the unfilled ones, and you can use this basic recipe as the starting point for both. The filling can be made from any shredded or ground meat mixture, or with mole poblano), or even with sweet fillings made from fresh or dried fruits and nuts. Filled tamales are often served as appetizers or as a main course, but this plain, unfilled version is most often served as a bread accompaniment to other dishes.

1/3 cup (80 ml) lard
2 cups (500 ml) masa harina (Mexican corn flour)
1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) baking powder
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
About 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) warm chicken stock or water
About 24 dried corn husks soaked in warm water for 30 minutes (kitchen parchment cut into 4x8-inch (10x20 cm) pieces can be used in place of corn husks)

Beat the lard until it is light and fluffy. Mix the masa harina with the baking powder and salt and add to the lard gradually, beating constantly. Gradually add the warm stock until a mushy, wet dough forms. Shake off the excess water from the corn husks and spread a heaping tablespoon of the dough onto the center of each corn husk. (If you are making filled tamales, add about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of the dough.) Fold the sides of the husks over the dough, then fold the tops and bottoms toward the center to make rectangular packages. Stack the tamales upright in steamer, packing them in next to each other so they will remain in a vertical position. Steam until the dough comes away from the husks when tested, about 1 hour. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes about 24.


Make a large batch of turkey stock and freeze it to make soups for weeks to come.

1 turkey carcass
Water to cover (about 8 cups, 2 L)
3 sprigs parsley
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 onions, quartered
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 bay (laurel) leaves
8 whole black peppercorns
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off the foam that rises to the surface, reduce the heat and simmer covered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove the carcass and strain the stock through a fine sieve or a double layer of cheesecloth, discarding the solids. Makes about 8 cups (2 L).

Salsa verde cruda simply means "raw green sauce" in Spanish, and this classic Mexican table sauce is great on meats, seafood, poultry, and as a dip for crispy tortilla chips.

1/2 lb (225 g) tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2-4 green chile peppers such as jalapeño or serrano, coarsely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 sprigs cilantro (coriander), chopped
Salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients in an electric blender or food processor and process until a coarse, slightly chunky sauce is produced, adding a little water to loosen it if necessary. Makes about 2 cups (500 ml).

I doubt that any two dishes of guacamole have ever been exactly the same, with every cook having his or her own version. Here is a basic recipe which you can modify and personalize at will.

2-3 ripe avocados, peeled and mashed
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2-3 canned serrano chiles*, chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped cilantro (coriander leaves)
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

* Available in finer supermarkets and Latin specialty shops.
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Place in a serving bowl and cover tightly if not serving immediately. Serve with tortilla chips for dipping. Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer.

This is the fabled Mexican sauce that features chocolate among its many ingredients. Many fans of Mexican food in the USA incorrectly refer to it simply as "mole" when in fact it is one of many moles. (The term mole comes from the Aztec word mollis which refers to any sauce made with chiles.) This mole is said to have originated in the city of Puebla ("poblano" = "from Puebla") when some nuns were forced to improvise a dish for a visiting dignitary on short order. It is often served over turkey, but is equally delicious with chicken or pork. Mixed with shredded cooked pork, chicken, or beef, it also makes a wonderful and traditional filling for tacos, enchiladas, and tamales. I'll provide the recipe for the
sauce, you provide the cooked meat of your choice.

6 ancho chiles
4 pasilla chiles*
4 mulato chiles*
2 cups (500 ml) warm chicken stock
3-4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 sprigs cilantro (coriander leaves)
1 corn tortilla, torn into small pieces
1 cup (250 ml) blanched almonds
1/2 cup (125 ml) raisins
1/4 cup (60 ml) sesame seeds plus additional for garnish
1/2 tsp (2 ml) ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp (2 ml) ground cloves
1/2 tsp (2 ml) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 ml) ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 Tbs (45 ml) lard or vegetable oil
1 1/2 oz (42 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped

* If all pasilla or mulato chiles are not available to you, use additional ancho chiles in their place

Remove and discard the stems and seeds from the dried chiles. Tear into pieces and soak in the warm chicken stock for 30 minutes. Working in batches, combine the chiles and stock with the remaining ingredients, except the lard and chocolate, in an electric blender and process to form a thick paste. Heat the lard in a pot over high heat and cook the puree for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. The sauce should be quite thick but may need to be thinned slightly with a little chicken stock. Serve over cooked turkey, chicken, or pork, garnished with sesame seeds. Makes enough sauce to serve 8 to 12.

Although there are dozens of dishes known as pico de gallo, salsa fresca, or salsa cruda found throughout Mexico, this is the one you are most likely to find in Mexican restaurants.

4-6 ripe tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped cilantro (coriander leaves)
1 Tbs (15 ml) fresh lime juice
Chopped, seeded jalapeño or serrano peppers to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl and serve chilled or at room temperature. Serve with tortilla chips. Makes 2 to 3 cups.

I am sure that most of my American readers are familiar with the tomato-based pico de gallo served in every Mexican restaurant. This
rendition hails from Jalisco, where it is served with tortilla chips as an appetizer or by itself as a small salad. The name means "rooster's beak," probably in reference to the motion of the thumb and index finger when picking it up to eat it.

1 lb (500 g) jicama*, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 navel oranges, peeled, sectioned, and coarsely chopped
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

* Jicama is a root vegetable available in Hispanic specialty shops and finer supermarkets. Water chestnuts or tart green apples may be substituted.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate before serving. Serve with tortilla chips. Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer.


Mexican-style salsas are all the rage these days, and they are showing up in every kind of restaurant. This one can be served as a dip with tortilla chips, or as a relish to accompany meat-it is particularly good with fish. You may substitute papaya, mango, or even peaches for the pineapple.

1 cup (250 ml) fresh or canned pineapple, chopped
1 cup (250 ml) canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup (60 ml) fresh lime or lemon juice
1/2 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh cilantro
1 small red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeño or other hot pepper, seeded and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl and toss to thoroughly combine. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for 2 hours and serve chilled. Makes about 4 cups (1 L).

This sauce can be used on just about anything that would benefit from a touch of spiciness.

Tomato Sauce (Salsa de Tomate)

2 Tbs (30 ml) vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 tsp (2 ml) sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Finely chopped jalapeño or serrano chiles, to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and garlic until soft but not brown. Add the remaining ingredients and cook over low to moderate heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve warm or cold. Makes about 2 cups.

I have published many recipes for seviche (also spelled ceviche) over the years because the dish is popular throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The combination of ingredients and flavors in this version leaves no doubt of its Mexican roots.

1/2 lb (225 g) small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lime juice
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
4 pimiento-stuffed green olives, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped, or to taste
2 Tbs (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs (15 ml) chopped cilantro (coriander leaves)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
Lettuce leaves for garnish

Combine the shrimp, lemon juice, and lime juice in a non-reactive bowl and refrigerate for 3 hours, or until the shrimp are firm and opaque. Add the tomato, onion, olives, jalapeño, olive oil, cilantro, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Spoon into the avocado halves and serve on a bed of lettuce leaves. Serves 2.


A taco is a small corn tortilla stuffed with just about anything on hand. In Mexico they are never fried crisp in the style popularized by American fast food outlets and Mexican-style restaurants, so just heat your tortillas in a dry skillet, over hot coals, or even in the microwave for an authentic Mexican treat.

2 poblano chiles, seeded and chopped or 1 can (4.5 oz, 127 g) green chile peppers, drained and chopped
2-3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tbs (30 ml) corn oil
1/4 lb (125 g) Mexican queso fresco, Monterey Jack or similar cheese, shredded
8-12 small (4 inch, 10 cm) corn tortillas, warmed until soft
Sour cream for garnish (optional)

Combine the chiles, tomatoes, onion, salt, and pepper in an electric blender or food process and process until smooth. Heat the oil in a small skillet over moderate heat and cook the chile mixture for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Place some cheese and sauce on each tortilla and fold in half, using a toothpick to secure the tacos if necessary. Serve garnished with sour cream if desired. Serves 4 to 6.


Here is the appetizer I am most likely to order in a good Tex-Mex restaurant, and I like them so much that I frequently order them as a main course-never twice at the same meal, though. Flauta means "flute" in Spanish, so make sure these tightly rolled tacos are long and narrow like their namesake.

3 Tbs (45 ml) butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) cooked chicken meat, shredded
2 Tbs (30 ml) picante sauce or salsa
12 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil for frying
Sour cream for garnish (optional)
Picante sauce or salsa for garnish (optional)
Guacamole for garnish (optional)

Heat the butter in a skillet over moderate heat and saute the onion and garlic until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and salsa and simmer until heated through. Meanwhile, heat about 1/2 inch (1 cm) of vegetable oil in a skillet over moderate heat and, using tongs, fry each tortilla for about 3 to 5 seconds, just enough to soften them. Drain on paper towels and place about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the chicken mixture on each tortilla, rolling them tightly to form thin, cigar-shaped rolls. Place seam side down in a shallow baking dish and bake in a preheated 400F (200C) oven until crisp, about 20 minutes. Serves garnished with sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole of desired. Makes 12 flautas to serve 4 to 6 as an appetizer, 3 to 4 as a main dish.

This traditional Mexican favorite is probably the ancestor of the ubiquitous Tex-Mex nachos served in every fern bar and sporting venue in the country. After tasting this dish I'm sure you'll agree that the modern version has little to offer in comparison.

1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
15-18 4-inch (10 cm) corn tortillas, cut into
1/2-inch (1 cm) strips
1 can (10 oz, 280 g) tomatillos (Mexican green tomatoes)
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 serrano chilies
3-4 sprigs cilantro (fresh coriander)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup (250 ml) grated Monterey jack or other mild white cheese
1/2 cup (125 ml) beef stock or water

Heat the oil in a large skillet over moderate heat and fry the tortilla strips a few at a time until crisp but not browned, adding more oil if needed. Drain on paper towels. Combine the tomatillos with their liquid, onion, chilies, and cilantro in an electric blender or food processor and process until smooth. Cook the puree in the remaining oil in the skillet for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Place about a third of the sauce in the bottom of a lightly greased baking dish, top with half the tortilla strips and half the cheese. Repeat. Add the beef stock and bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for 30 minutes. Serves 8 to 10 as an appetizer.


Quesadillas are a Mexican classic that are becoming more widely available in Mexican restaurants in the US. They are traditionally fried or grilled, but my version is easier and less attention-demanding.

4 flour tortillas
1 Tbs soft butter
1 cup shredded queso fresco, Monterey jack, or mild flavored, semi-soft cheese.
1-6 oz (170 g) can crab meat, drained and picked over
Hot sauce (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Grease a large baking sheet with the butter or margarine. Rub the tortillas on the greased surface so as to lightly grease one side of each tortilla. With the tortillas greased-side-down on the baking sheet, place one quarter of the shredded cheese on one half of each tortilla. Top this with the crab, a dash or two of the optional hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Fold each tortilla over and bake in a 350F (180C) oven for about 5 minutes, until the bottom is golden brown. Flip the quesadillas over and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until the other side is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Cut into wedges and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer.


This is one of the few dishes you'll find in a typical Tex-Mex-style restaurant in the U.S. that is also found throughout Mexico. Use Mexican queso asadero if you can find it. Otherwise, any good melting cheese can be substituted.

4 oz (110 g) Mexican chorizo, casing removed
1/2 lb (225 g) Mexican queso asadero or other melting cheese such as mozzarella or Monterey Jack, cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes
Tortilla chips or warm flour tortillas

Heat an 8- or 9-inch (20-23 cm) pie pan or gratin dish in a 375F (190C) oven while you prepare the chorizo. Saute the chorizo in a skillet over moderate heat, breaking it up into small pieces, until cooked through. Drain off and discard the excess fat and set aside. Spread the cheese cubes in the hot pie plate and bake for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the chorizo and heat for 4 to 5 more minutes. Serve immediately with tortilla chips or flour tortillas. Serves 4 to 6.

Serve these spicy little nuggets with cocktails as they do in Mexico.

1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil
2 cans (15 oz, 425 g each) chickpeas (garbanzos), drained
1-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Cayenne pepper or chili powder to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat and saute the chickpeas and garlic until the chickpeas are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt and cayenne. Cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container until ready to serve. Makes about 4 cups (1 L).


This classic Mexican dish is so simple and delicious you'll want to keep the recipe handy for whenever you need a quick and easy appetizer, cold side dish, or salad.

4-6 medium tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2-3 avocados, peeled, pitted, and mashed
2 Tbs (30 ml) finely chopped onion
2 Tbs (30 ml) chopped cilantro (coriander leaves)
1 tsp (5 ml) fresh lime or lemon juice
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
Lettuce leaves for garnish (optional)

Cut a slice off the top of the tomatoes and scoop out the insides to leave a thick shell. Sprinkle the inside with salt and allow to drain upside down for 15 minutes. Mix together the avocado, onion, cilantro, lime juice, optional jalapeño, salt, and pepper and stuff the tomatoes with the mixture. Serve chilled or at room temperature on a bed of lettuce leaves if desired. Serves 4 to 6.

Avocado soups are found throughout much of Central and South America. This version is from Mexico, and is delicious either hot or cold.

2 large, ripe avocados, peeled
4 cups (1 L) canned or fresh chicken stock
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
A grating of fresh nutmeg
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Lime wedges for garnish

Press the flesh of the avocados through a fine sieve and place in a large serving bowl. Heat the chicken stock and the cream until it almost boils. Pour the hot liquid over the strained avocados, stirring to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Serve hot or chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro and a lime wedge. Serves 4 to 6.


Here is a delicious and easy to cook soup. Its Spanish heritage is evidenced by the use of almonds and sherry, but it gets its Mexican flair from the spices used.

2 skinless and boneless chicken breast halves
2 qt (2 L) chicken stock
1/2 cup (125 ml) blanched almonds
2 Tbs (30 ml) butter
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cumin seed
1/4 tsp (1 ml) cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry sherry (optional)
1 Tbs (15 ml) chopped parsley

Cook the chicken breasts by simmering them in the chicken stock for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove them and set them aside. Saute the almonds in the butter over moderate heat until golden. Place the almonds, onion, and one of the chicken breasts in an electric blender or food processor, along with a little of the stock, and blend until pureed. Add this mixture to the remaining stock, along with the nutmeg, cumin, and cayenne. Add the second chicken breast, cut into small pieces, and heat over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Add the optional sherry just prior to serving. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with the chopped parsley. Serves 6.


Variations on this soup can be found throughout Mexico, many of them unremarkable in flavor because canned condensed soup in a red and white label is ubiquitous even there.

2 Tbs (30 ml) butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups (750 ml) kernels fresh or frozen sweet corn, thawed
1 Tbs (15 ml) cornstarch (cornflour) mixed with
1/4 cup (60 ml) cold water
3 cups (750 ml) milk
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
2 fresh poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped parsley or cilantro (coriander leaves) for garnish

Heat the butter in a skillet over moderate heat and saute the onion and garlic until tender but now brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to an electric blender or food processor and add the corn and cornstarch mixture. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender several times, and transfer to a saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the soup comes to a boil. Stir in the remaining ingredients except the parsley and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serves 4 to 6.


This dish is often served for breakfast in Mexico, where it is believed to have restorative powers for those who have overindulged the night before.

Menudo

2 lb (1 Kg) beef tripe
2 pig's feet
8 cups (2 L) water
6 ears of corn
6 scallions (spring onions), green and white parts, chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped fresh cilantro (coriander leaves)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Garnishes: chopped fresh oregano, lemon and lime wedges,
hot pepper flakes, chopped onion

Combine the tripe, pigs feet, and water in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 3 hours. Allow the pot to cool and remove the meats. Cut the tripe into thin strips and remove the bones from the pig's feet. Return the meats to the stock. Cut the corn from the cobs and add it, along with the scallions, coriander, salt, and pepper, to the stock. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Serve with garnishes for diners to help themselves to. Serves 6 to 8.


This traditional soup is really a one-dish meal. Don't forget to serve some fresh, homemade tortillas on the side.

8 cups (2 L) chicken stock
4-6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3 carrots, thinly sliced
2 zucchini (courgettes), thinly sliced
1 cup (250 ml) green peas
3 large tomatoes, seeded, and chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced for garnish

Combine the chicken stock, chicken breasts, carrots, zucchini, and peas in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and jalapeño and simmer for 2 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and garnish with the sliced avocado. Serves 4 to 6.


Hispanic markets sell packages of dried noodles labeled fideos especially for this dish, but the term actually refers to any dried pasta. Your favorite American or Italian brand will do the job just fine in this recipe.

2 Tbs (30 ml) olive oil
2 oz (55 g) spaghetti, vermicelli, or other thin noodle, broken into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces
1 15-oz (225 g) can tomatoes with their liquid
1 onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups (1.5 L) beef or chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry sherry (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Heat the oil in a large pot over high heat and saute the broken noodles until lightly browned. Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, onion, and garlic in an electric blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Pour the tomato mixture into the pot with the noodles and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the stock and simmer covered until the noodles are tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and stir in the sherry if desired. Serve with grated Parmesan on the side. Serves 4 to 6.

It seems that virtually every culture has its own boiled dumplings: the Chinese have won-tons, the Italians have gnocchi, the Germans have spaetzle, and the Mexicans have this delectable dish.

12 4-inch corn tortillas
1 cup (250 ml) milk
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
6 cups (1.5 L) chicken stock
2 Tbs (30 ml) tomato paste
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)

Soak the tortillas in the milk for 15 minutes. Combine the tortillas and milk with the onion and garlic in an electric blender or food processor and process until smooth. Combine with the cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper and stir until thoroughly combined. Roll into small balls. Meanwhile, bring the chicken stock to a simmer over moderate heat. Stir in the tomato paste and optional cayenne. Add the tortilla balls and simmer for 10 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.


This staple of Tex-Mex restaurants is so hearty and filling that you may want to serve it as a main dish. Traditionally, the tortilla strips are fried, but my version is quicker, easier, and lowers the fat content of the recipe.

2 chicken breast halves
4-6 cups (1-1.5 L) chicken stock
1 Tbs (15 ml) olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green or red bell pepper (capsicum), seeded and chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups (500 ml) fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 can (15 oz, 425 g) chopped tomatoes with their liquid
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 ml) chili powder
1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For garnish:
6-8 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips and toasted in the oven until crisp
Chopped scallions (spring onions)
Shredded Monterey jack or Cheddar cheese (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

Combine the chicken breasts and chicken stock in a pot and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Simmer covered for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts and allow to cool enough to handle. Remove and discard the skin and bones, and shred the chicken meat. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over moderate heat. Saute the onion, peppers, and garlic until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken meat, the onion mixture, and the remaining ingredients to the pot and simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Garnish with toasted tortilla strips, scallions, and cheese or sour cream if desired. Serves 4 to 6.


Turkeys were the largest domesticated animal in North America when Columbus arrived, and they have been a staple in the diet of Americans for thousands of years. Here is a typical turkey soup from south of the border:

2 cups (500 ml) turkey stock (see index)
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 can (4 oz, 110 g) diced green chilies, drained
2 cups (500 ml) milk
1/4 cup (60 ml) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 ml) chili powder
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cumin
2 cups (500 ml) cooked turkey, coarsely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) fresh, frozen, or canned corn kernels
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped fresh cilantro (coriander leaves) or parsley for garnish

Combine the turkey stock, garlic, onion, carrot, celery, and canned chilies in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, flour, chili powder, and cumin. Whisk the mixture into the soup and return to the boil over high heat, stirring constantly until the soup boils and thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey and corn and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary and serve garnished with chopped cilantro or parsley. Serves 4 to 6.

A Tex-Mex meal without beans of some sort would be like a Chinese meal without rice-it just doesn't happen very often. These beans are "drunk" (borracho in Spanish) due to the beer, but you may substitute chicken broth or water if you prefer your beans on the sober side.

1/2 lb (225 g) sliced bacon
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 lb (450 g) pinto beans, soaked overnight and boiled until tender
2 12-ounce cans (355 ml each) beer
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Fry the bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels, crumble, and set aside. Reserve about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the bacon fat and heat it in a large pot over moderate heat. Saute the onion, garlic, and jalapeños until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until heated through. Top with crumbled bacon and serve hot. Serves 6 to 8.


The chayote was a food staple for the ancient Aztecs and Mayas, as it still is today in Mexico. Also known as mirliton and christophene (my family calls it susu from our South America days), it is a green, pear-shaped fruit with a thin, furrowed skin. Although it can be eaten raw, I prefer it cooked, when it becomes the most succulent vegetable imaginable.

3 to 4 chayotes, peeled and seeded, cut into
1-inch (2 cm) pieces
1/2 tsp (2 ml) Dijon-style mustard
2 Tbs (30 ml) lime or lemon juice
6 Tbs (90 ml) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tomatoes, cut into eighths
1 onion, finely chopped
12 to 18 ripe olives
Lettuce leaves for garnish

Boil the chayote in enough salted water to cover for 20 minutes, until tender. Drain and chill. In a large bowl combine the mustard, lime juice, oil, salt, and pepper and whisk until emulsified. Add the chilled chayote, tomatoes, onion, and olives and toss to thoroughly coat the vegetables. Serve on a bed of lettuce. Serves 4 to 6.


Here is a classic Mexican treatment for fresh (as opposed to dried) beans of any sort. Use green beans (haricots), broad beans, or even sugar snaps if you like. I am partial to lima beans, and since I've never seen them fresh in any market I've ever been in, my recipe calls for the frozen product.

2 Tbs (30 ml) butter or olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1-1 1/2 lbs (450-675 g) frozen lima beans, cooked according to package directions
2-3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced for garnish
Chopped parsley for garnish

Heat the butter in a skillet over moderate heat and saute the onion and garlic until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, jalapeño, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add the cooked lima beans and stir to combine. Serve garnished with sliced egg and chopped parsley. Serves 4 to 6.


The stuff piled next to the refried beans on nearly every plate served by Mexican restaurants in the USA bears little resemblance to anything you'll find in Mexico. Here's the genuine article.

2 cups (500 ml) long-grain rice
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups (1 L) chicken or beef stock
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, or 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) canned tomatoes
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1/2 cup (125 ml) frozen or fresh green peas, cooked
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Optional garnishes:
Chile "flowers" (fresh hot chiles sliced from the tip to the stem into 4 or 5 sections and immersed in cold water until they curl back to form "flowers")
Fresh coriander or parsley sprigs
1 large avocado, peeled and sliced

Puree the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and 1/2 cup of the stock in an electric blender or food processor. Heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the rice until it turns golden. Add the tomato puree, remaining stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cover until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed (about 15 minutes). Mix in the peas and continue cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed. Garnish with the optional garnishes. Serves 6.

If you like spicy food like I do, you'll love this dish. You can tone it down by using only half a chipotle, but the smoky flavor and fiery heat do wonders to the otherwise tame mushrooms.

1 lb (450 g) mushrooms, rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 canned chipotle chile*, or to taste
2 Tbs (30 ml) tomato paste
3/4 cup (180 ml) chicken stock
4 Tbs (60 ml) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon

* Chipotle chiles are smoked jalapeños and are available canned in
most supermarkets and Hispanic specialty shops.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop the stems, leaving the mushroom caps whole. Combine the mushroom stems, onion, garlic, chipotle, tomato paste, and chicken stock in an electric blender or food processor and process until smooth. Heat half the olive oil in a skillet over moderate heat and add the puree. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a separate skillet over high heat and saute the mushroom caps, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chipotle puree to the mushrooms, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and stir in the lemon juice. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.


Traditional Mexican cooking includes an entire category of rice and pasta dishes known as sopas secas or "dry soups." No one is sure how this name came into being, but it might have been because the Aztecs didn't understand the Spanish habit of putting rice and noodle into soups ("wet soups") as well as serving them as side dishes ("dry soups"). Traditionally the sopa seca was served as a separate course following the (wet) soup at the main meal, but nowadays they are also served as side dishes and occasionally as the main course.

2 Tbs (30 ml) vegetable oil
1/2 lb (225 g) thin spaghetti, fettuccine, or other thin noodle broken into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
1-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3-4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and mashed
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) beef, chicken, or vegetable stock
1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Hot sauce or cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Heat the oil in a large skillet over moderate heat and saute the noodles, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Transfer the noodles to a baking dish and saute the onion and garlic in the remaining oil until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (except the Parmesan) and pour the mixture over the noodles, stirring to combine. Simmer uncovered over low heat or bake uncovered in a preheated 350F (180C) oven until the noodles are tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese. Serves 4 to 6.


When ordering a meal in Mexico, it's not unusual for the server to ask if you want your beans fried (refritos) or from the pot (de la olla).

2 cups (500 ml) dried beans such as pinto or black beans
6 cups (1.5 L) water
2 Tbs (30 ml) lard, bacon drippings, or vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
Salt to taste

Soak the beans overnight, or bring them to a boil in salted water and then let them sit in the hot liquid for 1 hour. Drain the beans and combine all the ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat and simmer covered until the beans are tender, 1 to 2 hours, adding more water if necessary to keep them completely submerged. Serves 4 to 6.


Rice was introduced to the Americas by the Spanish, but the corn and chiles in this dish are traditional Central American ingredients.

2 Tbs (30 ml) vegetable oil
1 cup (250 ml) long-grain rice
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cups (500 ml) chicken or vegetable stock or water
Salt to taste
3 fresh poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into strips
1 cup (250 ml) fresh or frozen kernels sweet corn
3/4 cup (180 ml) crumbled Mexican queso fresco or similar cheese such as feta or farmer's cheese

Heat the oil in a pot over moderate heat and saute the rice and onion, stirring frequently, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork immediately before serving. Serves 4 to 6.


Refried beans have been on every dish I have ever ordered in a Mexican restaurant in the USA, bar none. I know this is true because I always order them if they aren't included with the entree. Once you have made them at home, you will agree that the commercial variety doesn't compare.

2 Tbs (30 ml) bacon drippings or vegetable oil
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cumin
3 cups (750 ml) cooked and drained pinto beans
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Grated Monterey jack or Cheddar cheese

Heat the fat in a skillet over moderate heat and saute the garlic and cumin for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beans and mash with a potato masher or fork until thoroughly mashed. Season with salt and pepper and simmer uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve topped with grated cheese. Serves 4 to 6.


This is a popular dish in Mexico, but I think it's even more ubiquitous north of the border. Every Mexican restaurant and home cook has a different version, and experimentation is encouraged. Mexican food purists (including me) will pale at the thought of using any chile other than the poblano, but if these aren't available in your area you have my permission to use green bell peppers instead.

4-6 poblano chiles
Flour for dredging
2 eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil for frying

For the filling:
2 Tbs (30 ml) olive oil
1 lb (450 g) ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) raisins
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the sauce:
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tbs (15 ml) olive oil

Cook the chiles over an open flame or under a broiler until the skin is blistered and black all over. Place in a paper bag and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Scrape off and discard the blackened parts. Cut a slit in the chiles from top to bottom and remove the seeds and core. Set the chiles aside.
To prepare the filling, heat the oil in a skillet over moderate heat and cook the beef, onion, and garlic until the meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
To prepare the sauce, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, stock, salt, and pepper in an electric blender and puree until smooth. Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat and cook the tomato mixture, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.

Fill the chiles with the meat filling. Dredge them in flour, dip in the eggs, and fry in a skillet with about 1/2 inch (1 cm) oil over high heat until lightly browned on all sides. Spoon the sauce over the chiles and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.


Chiles rellenos are most often fried, but I prefer this method because it's easier and it cuts down on the fat content.

4-6 poblano chiles or other chiles suitable for stuffing
1 recipe picadillo (see index)
About 1 cup (250 ml) shredded Mexican Chihuahua or
Monterey Jack cheese

Char the poblanos over a burner or under a broiler until blackened and blistered on all sides. Allow the chiles to cool enough to handle and peel them. Cut a slit along the length of the chiles and carefully remove the seeds and veins. Stuff with the picadillo and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Top with the shredded cheese and bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven until heated through, 20 to 30 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.


This colorful vegetable stew can be served as a side dish or as a meatless entree. To make it truly vegetarian simply substitute the broth with vegetable broth or water.

2 onions, peeled and sliced
1 sweet red pepper, cut into strips
1 sweet green pepper, cut into strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups beef or chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
2 small red potatoes, diced
1 small sweet potato, diced
2 cups fresh green beans, sliced into 1 in (2.5 cm) pieces
1 zucchini (courgettes), sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 ears corn cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) pieces, or 1 cup corn kernels
2 Tbs lime juice
1/2 cup cilantro or flat leaf parsley

Combine the onion, red and green peppers, garlic and broth and bring to a boil in a large pot. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the spices, red potatoes and sweet potato, cover and simmer 10 minutes more, adding more broth or water if needed. Add the green beans, cook 5 minutes more. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, black beans, corn and lime juice. Reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Garnish with cilantro or parsley. Serves 10 to 12 as a side dish, 4 to 6 as an entree.


Green leafy salads are a rarity in Mexico where cold vegetable dishes called ensaladas are often served as a vegetable side dish or main dish for a light meal.

4-6 medium zucchinis (courgettes), thickly sliced
4-6 scallions (spring onions), green and white parts, thinly sliced
2 canned poblano chiles, cut into thin strips
2-3 avocados, peeled and coarsely chopped
2/3 cup (160 ml) olive oil
1/3 cup (80 ml) red wine vinegar
1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Lettuce leaves for garnish

Cook the zucchini in boiling salted water until cooked but still firm and crisp, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain, chop coarsely, and cool to room temperature. Combine the zucchini, scallions, chiles, and avocados in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper and pour over the vegetables. Toss gently to combine and serve on lettuce leaves. Serves 4 to 6.

This is one of those dishes that people assume to be of Mexican origin, but I'll wager that the only place fajitas are served south of the border is in American-style restaurants.

For the marinade:
1/2 cup (125 ml) lime juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 lbs (900 g) beef skirt or flank steak
8-12 flour tortillas
2 Tbs (30 ml) olive oil
2-3 red and/or green bell peppers (capsicum),
seeded and cut into thin strips
2-3 medium onions, cut into thin rings

Garnishes:
Grated Cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Pico de gallo (from index)
Guacamole

Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Cut the meat into thin strips and toss with the marinade. Marinate refrigerated for 1 to 2 hours, or 15 to 20 minutes at room temperature. Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and heat in a 350F (180C) oven for 15 minutes. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat and saute the peppers and onions for 5 minutes. Drain the meat and discard the marinade. Add to the skillet and saute until medium-rare. Transfer the meat mixture to a serving platter and serve with tortillas and garnishes. To eat, place some of the meat mixture on a tortilla, top with the garnishes and roll up. Serves 4 to 6.


The French would call this dish pot-au-feu, and in Mexico it is brightened up with the addition of fruits.

1 lb (450 g) beef stew meat, cut in 2-inch (5 cm) cubes
1 lb (450 g) lamb stew meat, cut in 2-inch (5 cm) cubes
1/2 lb (225 g) ham, diced
1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup (250 ml) corn kernels
1 cup (250 ml) canned garbanzo beans, drained
3-4 medium carrots, sliced
3-4 turnips, peeled and sliced
3-4 zucchini or yellow squash, sliced
1 small cabbage, cut into wedges
1/2 lb (225 g) sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 lb (225 g) white potatoes, peeled and sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tbs (15 ml) vegetable oil
2-3 firm bananas, peeled
3-4 peaches, peeled and quartered
3-4 pears, peeled and quartered
Chopped coriander (cilantro leaves) and lime wedges for garnish

Combine all the meats in a large pot with enough water to cover. Add the onion and garlic and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 90 minutes. Add the corn, garbanzos, carrots, turnips, zucchini, cabbage, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, salt, and pepper. Simmer covered until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over moderate heat and saute the bananas until golden brown. Combine the peach and pear quarters in a saucepan with a little water and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Simmer covered for 10 minutes. Arrange the meats, vegetables, and fruits on a large platter. Strain the soup and serve garnished with chopped cilantro and lime wedges as a first course, followed by the meats, vegetables, and fruits. Serves 6 to 8.


Aside from the fact that the inhabitants of Mexico have been eating just about everything wrapped in tortillas for thousands of years, there is nothing truly Mexican about fajitas-they're a Tex-Mex invention. The name derives from a cut of beef ("fajitas" means "little belts" in reference to the cut from the belly they are usually made with), thus making chicken fajitas one delicious oxymoron.

For the marinade:
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 Tbs (45 ml) olive oil
3 Tbs (45 ml) red wine vinegar
1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano
1 tsp (5 ml) lemon or lime juice
1 tsp (5 ml) Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp (2 ml) cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1-1 1/2 lbs (450-675 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/4-inch (5 mm) strips
12 flour tortillas
2 Tbs (30 ml) vegetable oil
1 onion cut into 1/4-inch (5 mm) strips
1 green bell pepper (capsicum) cut into 1/4-inch (5 mm) strips
1 red bell pepper (capsicum) cut into 1/4-inch (5 mm) strips

Optional toppings:
Grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Sour cream
Pico de gallo or salsa
Chopped olives
Guacamole
Fresh cilantro (coriander leaves)

Combine the marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken strips. Marinate refrigerated for 2 to 3 hours. Drain the chicken and discard the marinade. Wrap the tortillas in foil and heat in a 350F (180C) oven until heated through, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat and saute the chicken, onion, and bell peppers until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Place 2 or 3 strips of chicken along with some of the onions, peppers, and optional ingredients of your choice on each tortilla and roll, or serve the tortillas, cooked ingredients, and toppings for diners to assemble themselves. Serves 4 to 6.


The tomatillos and pumpkin seeds in this recipe are increasingly easy to find in the United States these days. If your local supermarket doesn't carry them, I'm sure the nearest Hispanic market will have them.

1/2 cup (125 ml) shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 cup (250 ml) chopped cilantro (coriander leaves)
1 cup (250 ml) chopped scallions (spring onions)
1 cup (250 ml) chopped canned or fresh tomatillos
1 jalapeño or other hot green chile, seeded and chopped, or to taste
About 1/2 cup (125 ml) chicken stock or water
3 Tbs (45 ml) vegetable oil
2-3 lbs (900-1350 g) chicken parts
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet over moderate heat until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Combine in a blender with the cilantro, scallions, tomatillos, jalapeño, and enough chicken stock to make a smooth, thin paste. Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy skillet, preferably non-stick, over moderate heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown on all sides in the hot oil. Add the green sauce and enough additional chicken stock to make a thin, soupy sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered until the chicken is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.


Pipián is difficult to translate. My Spanish-English dictionary says simply "fricassee," and the dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy defines it as "a New World stew made with meat, chicken, turkey, or other fowl with salt pork and almonds." The Spanish Academy not withstanding, some versions are based around seafood, and vegetarian versions can also be found.

3 lbs (1.35 Kg) chicken pieces
3 cups (750 ml) chicken stock
2-3 scallions (spring onions), green and white parts, coarsely chopped
2-3 sprigs cilantro (coriander)
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
6 ancho* chiles, seeded, torn into pieces, and soaked in warm water for 1 hour
1/2 cup (125 ml) blanched almonds, toasted and pulverized in a blender or food processor
2 Tbs (30 ml) vegetable oil
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp (1 ml) dried oregano
A pinch ground cloves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

* Available in finer supermarkets and Hispanic specialty shops

Combine the chicken, stock, scallions, cilantro, and carrot in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces, strain and reserve the stock, and return the chicken pieces to the pot. Puree the soaked ancho chiles along with a little of the soaking liquid in an electric blender or food processor. Heat the oil in a skillet over moderate heat and saute the chile mixture and pulverized almonds for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add about 2 cups (500 ml) of the reserved chicken stock to make a medium-thick sauce. Stir in the seasonings and pour the sauce over the chicken. Cook over moderate heat for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through. Serves 4 to 6.


This dish originated in the Mexican city of Puebla, where it is traditionally served on St. Augustine's Day, August 28. It is also a popular dish on Mexican Independence Day because it has the red, green, and white of the Mexican flag.

6 poblano chiles or green bell peppers
1 recipe picadillo (see index)
1 cup (250 ml) finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped blanched almonds
8 oz (225 g) cream cheese, softened
1 cup (250 ml) milk
1/4 tsp (1 ml) cinnamon (optional)
The seeds of 1 pomegranate

Hold the chiles on a fork over a flame or electric burner until the skin blisters. Place them in a paper bag and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Peel the skin off under running water. Cut a slit the length of the peppers and remove the seeds and ribs. Stuff the peppers with the picadillo and fasten them closed with toothpicks if necessary. Arrange the stuffed peppers on a platter. Combine the nuts, cream cheese, and enough milk to make a sauce about the thickness of mayonnaise. Stir in the optional cinnamon. Pour the sauce over the chiles and sprinkle the pomegranate seed over the top. Serves 6.

The hardest part of making this dish might be getting your hands on the guajillo chiles. They are available these days in many American supermarkets, but I know this is small comfort for my readers in other countries. If they aren't available in your area, I suggest an internet search for a mail-order source. Is there some substitute you can use? Nope.

For the sauce:
10 to 12 guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbs (15 ml) coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp (5 ml) cumin seeds, toasted and ground
6 cups (1.5 L) chicken stock
4 Roma tomatoes, halved and grilled or broiled until charred
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the enchiladas:
2 lbs (900 g) Mexican chorizo without casing (see below)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cups (500 ml) cooked diced potato
16 corn tortillas, heated in hot oil
1 cup (250 ml) shredded asadero or Monterey Jack cheese

To make the sauce, toast the guajillo chiles in a dry skillet over high heat just until soft and fragrant, about 10 seconds on each side. Heat the oil in a saucepan over high heat and saute the onion until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add guajillo chiles and the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Puree the sauce in an electric blender or food processor and strain through a fine sieve if desired. Set aside.
To make the enchiladas, saute the chorizo and onion in a skillet over high heat, breaking up the meat, until the meat is thoroughly cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and remove from the heat. Place 3 to 4 tablespoons (45-60 ml) of the filling on each tortilla and roll them tightly. Spread about 1 cup (250 ml) of the guajillo sauce in a large baking dish and place the enchiladas seam-side down in the dish. Cover with about 2 cups (500 ml) of the sauce (freeze the remainder) and sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

Mexican-Style Chorizo from Scratch

2 lbs (900 g) ground pork
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs (15 ml) dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican canela
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
2 Tbs (30 ml) pureed chipotle en adobo (optional)
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, stirring to combine. Use immediately or freeze for future use. Makes about 2 lbs (900 g).


Most French chefs go apoplectic at the thought of browning garlic for fear that it will ruin the dish, but in Mexico they know that a little browning gives garlic a unique, subtle flavor.

4-6 fillets of firm white fish such as bass, catfish, or perch
Freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt
3 Tbs (45 ml) butter
3 Tbs (45 ml) vegetable oil
10-12 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
About 1/2 cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour seasoned with salt
and freshly ground pepper
The juice of 1 lime
Chopped parsley for garnish

Drizzle the fish with lime juice, sprinkle with salt, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over moderate heat and saute the garlic until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside. Dredge the fish fillets in the flour mixture, shake off the excess, and saute in the butter and oil mixture until golden brown on both sides and cooked through. Transfer the fish to a serving platter. Add the reserved garlic, lime juice, and parsley to the pan and stir to loosen the brown bits in the bottom of the pan. Spoon the sauce over the fish and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.


This is an old-fashioned recipe from Mexico that deserves a place in your standard repertoire because of its ease of preparation and magnificent flavor.

4-6 individual steaks (about 6 oz, 170 g each) firm white fish such as cod, halibut, or turbot
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
All-purpose flour for dredging
1/2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
2 Tbs (30 ml) lemon juice
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
About 1 cup (250 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice

Season the fish steaks with salt and pepper and dust lightly with flour. Mix together the parsley, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and optional jalapeño pepper and spread the mixture on both sides of the fish steaks. Arrange the fish in a single layer in a lightly greased baking dish just big enough to hold the. Pour enough orange juice over the fish barely cover it and bake covered in a preheated 350F (180C) oven until the fish is opaque, firm to the touch, and flakes easily with a fork, about 20 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.


If you're one of those poor souls who can't tolerate the flavor of cilantro, please use parsley in its place in this quick and easy dish.

3 Tbs (45 ml) vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 lbs (900-1350 g) firm white fish fillets such as red snapper, striped bass, or flounder
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves
1-3 jalapeño or similar hot chiles, seeded and finely chopped

Heat the oil in a skillet over moderate heat and saute the onion until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Season the fish with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Place in a greased baking dish big enough to hold the fish in a single layer. Top the fish with the sauteed onion, cilantro, and jalapeños. Bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven until the fish is firm and opaque, 15 to 20 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.


This is one of those dishes for which there are as many recipes as cooks, so consider yourself encouraged to experiment and invent your own version.

1 bunch cilantro (coriander leaves)
1 onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
6-8 tomatillos (Mexican green tomatoes), chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry vermouth or white wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2-3 lbs (900-1350 g) chicken parts

Combine all ingredients except the chicken in an electric blender and process to form a thick puree, adding a little more vermouth if necessary. Place the chicken pieces in a flame-proof dish or casserole and pour the puree on top. Cook covered over very low heat or in a preheated 325F (165C) oven until the chicken is done, about 1 hour. Serves 4 to 6.


This classic Mexican dish is often served on a bed of rice, but it is also often used as a filling for tacos, enchiladas, and chiles rellenos.

1 lb (450 g) ground beef
1/2 lb (125 g) Mexican chorizo without casing
1 onion, chopped
1-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) raisins
1/2 cup (125 ml) pitted black or green olives, chopped
1 Tbs (15 ml) vinegar
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cumin
1 bay (laurel) leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Optional garnishes:
Cooked white rice
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Guacamole
Chopped tomatoes or tomato salsa

Brown the ground beef and chorizo in a skillet over moderate heat, breaking them up with a spoon as they cook. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Drain off any excess fat if necessary and add the remaining ingredients. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. Use as a filling for enchiladas, tacos, or chiles rellenos, or serve with any or all of the optional garnishes. Serves 4 to 6.


Legend has it that this dish was invented in the Mexican town of Chilapa when a visiting dignitary was about to arrive. The women realized that they didn't have time to grind the corn and make tortillas, so they just tossed the corn into the pork stew. True or not, this dish is now found all over Mexico as well as the Southwestern United States.

8 cloves garlic, peeled
6 cups (1.5 L) water
2 cups (500 ml) canned or fresh chicken stock
2 lbs (1 kg) country-style pork ribs
1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano
3 dried New Mexico or ancho chiles
1 cup (250 ml) boiling water
1/2 small white onion, peeled
1 Tbs (15 ml) salt
1-30 oz (840 g) can white hominy, rinsed
and drained
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
6 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil for frying

Garnishes:
Fried tortilla strips (see recipe)
Diced avocado
Thinly sliced romaine lettuce
Chopped white onion
Diced radishes
Lime wedges

Thinly slice 6 of the garlic cloves and add them to a large soup pot with the water, chicken broth, pork, and oregano. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours, skimming the surface to remove scum. Discard the stem from the chiles and combine them with the boiling water in a small bowl. Soak for 30 minutes, turning occasionally. Combine the onion, soaked chiles (along with the liquid), the remaining 2 cloves of garlic, and the salt in an electric blender or food processor and process until smooth. Remove the pork from the broth mixture, reserving the broth. Shred the pork and discard the bones. Return the pork to the broth mixture, and add the hominy and chile sauce. Simmer an additional 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut the tortillas in half, and then into thin strips. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over high heat and fry them in 3 or 4 batches until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve the pozole with the garnishes in individual bowls, for diners to add at the table. Serves 4 to 6.


This classic Mexican dish is a world-class fish recipe. Many travelers to Mexico are surprised at the number of seafood items on restaurant menus. The abundance of fish in the gulf of Mexico and the Sea of Cortez account in part for this, as do the thousands of miles of coastline on two oceans. But the real clue to the popularity of seafood in Mexico is the love of fine food that the Mexican people have demonstrated in the creation and evolution of their unique cuisine.

6 large red snapper fillets or other firm, white-fleshed fish fillets
3 Tbs (45 ml) all-purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups (500 ml) tomato puree
1/4 tsp (1 ml) cinnamon
A pinch of ground cloves
2-4 fresh or canned jalapeños or other locally available hot chiles, seeded and cut into strips
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp (2 ml) sugar
12 small new potatoes, cooked and peeled
1/2 cup (125 ml) pimiento-stuffed green olives, cut in half

Dust the fish fillets lightly with the seasoned flour. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the fillets until golden but not completely cooked. Set aside. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of the oil, the onion and the garlic to the skillet, and fry until the onion is transparent but not brown. Add the tomato puree, cinnamon, and cloves and cook over moderate to low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chiles, lemon juice, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the potatoes and fish fillets and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the fish is firm and flakes easily. To serve, arrange the fish on a hot serving platter and cover with the sauce, surrounded by the potatoes and garnished with the olives. Serves 6.


Isn't it often true that the simpler a dish is, the better it is? I offer this dish as evidence.

1-2 whole chickens
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) orange juice
1 small onion, chopped
8-12 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried thyme
1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried oregano
1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried marjoram
4 bay (laurel) leaves, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Using a large knife or kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone of the chicken and remove it. Lay the chicken skin-side up and press the breastbone to flatten the chicken. Alternately, the chicken can simply be cut into serving pieces. Combine the remaining ingredients in an electric blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Combine the chicken and the marinade in a non-reactive bowl or large plastic bag and marinate refrigerated at least 4 hours or overnight. Cook the chicken over hot coals or under a preheated broiler, turning every 10 minutes and basting with the marinade, until charred and the juices in the thigh run clear when pricked with a fork, 30 to 45 minutes. Serves 4 to 8.


This Tex-Mex version of a chef's salad is really a meal all by itself.

1 lb (450 g) ground beef
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbs (30 ml) all-purpose flour
2 Tbs (30 ml) chili powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
2-3 cups (500-750 ml) tortilla chips
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup (250 ml) grated cheddar cheese
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup (125 ml) sliced black olives
1/4 cup (60 ml) pickled jalapeño peppers, sliced
1 cup (250 ml) ranch salad dressing

Saute the beef and garlic in a skillet over moderate heat until the meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Add the water and simmer uncovered over low heat until the mixture has thickened, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, arrange the tortilla chips on a large serving platter or individual plates and place the lettuce on top. Add the beef mixture followed by the remaining ingredients in the order listed. Serves 4 to 6.

If I don't already hold the record for the number and variety of custard-like recipes published, this one will surely put me over the top. It uses an unusual cooking method to produce a light, fluffy version of the ubiquitous flan.

2 cups (500 ml) milk
1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) blanched almonds, ground in a
blender or food processor
4 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1 tsp (5 ml) butter
Toasted slivered almonds for garnish

Combine the milk, sugar, and almonds in a pot and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Fold the egg whites into the milk mixture. Grease the top of a double boiler with the butter and add the mixture. Cook covered over a pot of simmering water until the mixture has set, about 30 minutes. Chill and unmold onto a serving platter. Garnish with slivered almonds. Serves 4 to 6.

Here's a traditional Mexican dessert, similar to many other bread puddings found around the world, but the combination of spices and the use of cheese make this one unique.

2 cups (500 ml) brown sugar, firmly packed
4 cups (1 L) water
1 cinnamon stick, about 4 inches (10 cm)
1 clove
6 cups (1.5 L) French bread, cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes and toasted in the oven until dry
3 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 cup (250 ml) raisins
1 cup (250 ml) chopped blanched almonds
1/2 lb (225 g) Monterey jack, Muenster, or other mild cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Combine the brown sugar, water, cinnamon stick, and clove in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place a layer of the bread cubes in the bottom of a greased oven-proof baking dish. Add a layer of apples, raisins, almonds, and cheese. Repeat until all the ingredients are used. Remove the cinnamon and clove from the syrup and pour over the bread mixture. Bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for 30 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.


This pie, similar to our cheesecake, is popular throughout Mexico and is a staple among the nation's "cafeterias," or coffee shops.

For the crust:
5 slices white bread with crust (about 4 oz, 110 g)
2 Tbs (30 ml) sugar
4 Tbs (60 ml) butter, melted

For the filling:
1 lb (450 g) cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 cup (180 ml) sugar
1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt, plus a pinch for the egg whites
1 Tbs (15 ml) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp (2 ml) vanilla extract
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cinnamon
3 egg yolks
2 egg whites

To make the crust, pulverize the bread in an electric blender or food processor-there should be about 1 2/3 cups (415 ml). Combine with the sugar in a bowl and drizzle with the melted butter, mixing well. Pat into a 9-inch (23 cm) pie pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Combine the cream cheese with 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the sugar, 1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt, and the flour, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a food processor or bowl of an electric mixer and process or beat until smooth. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar until the whites are stiff and shiny. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cheese mixture, then gently fold in the remainder. Spoon the mixture into the crust and bake in a preheated 375F (190C) oven for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to 325F (165C) and bake 25 minutes more. Turn off the oven and let the pie cool in the oven for 15 minutes with the oven door closed. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature before serving. Serves 6 to 8.


Of all the food contributions of the New World, I believe chocolate must be the most beloved. Here is everyone's favorite cake done Mexican style.

Chocolate Cake (Torta de Chocolate)

8 Tbs (120 ml) butter
1/2 cup (125 ml) vegetable oil
2 oz (55 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup (250 ml) water
2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
2 cups (500 ml) sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla

Combine the butter, oil, chocolate, and water in a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring until the chocolate is melted. Combine the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir in the chocolate mixture. Pour into a greased 9x13-inch (22x33 cm) baking pan and bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Frost with Mexican Chocolate Icing, below. Serves 8 to 10.

8 Tbs (120 ml) butter at room temperature
2 oz (55 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
1 lb (450 g) powdered (confectioner's) sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped walnuts or pecans

Combine the butter, chocolate, and milk in a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar gradually. Stir in the remaining ingredients and frost the cake while the icing is still warm.


This classic Spanish dessert is a favorite all over the Spanish-speaking world, and Mexico is no exception. The basic egg custard can be flavored with any number of ingredients, and this version is one you might expect from the birthplace of chocolate.

For the caramel sauce:
1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar
2 Tbs (30 ml) water

For the custard:
4 cups (1 L) milk
8 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup (180 ml) sugar
3 Tbs (45 ml) cocoa powder
2 Tbs (30 ml) dark rum (optional)
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

To make the caramel sauce, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar is a dark golden brown. Pour the sugar carefully (it will be extremely hot) into a 6-cup (1.5 L) mold or into 6 individual custard cups or ramekins, tilting the mold or cups to coat the bottom and sides with the molten sugar. Set aside.
To make the custard, heat the milk until small bubbles form around the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat and let cool. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and stir into the milk. Strain into the mold or custard cups. Place in a pan filled with enough water to come halfway up the side of the mold and bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven until the tip of a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool to room temperature and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. To serve, run the blade of a knife around the edge of the mold before inverting onto a serving platter. Serves 6.


This version of flan is typical of many Mexican desserts because of the addition of cinnamon. It can be made in one large mold, or in individual custard cups. Either way, es muy delicioso.

1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar
2 Tbs (30 ml) water
4 cups (1 L) milk
3/4 cup (180 ml) sugar
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp (2 ml) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 ml) grated lemon rind (optional)
A pinch of salt

Combine the 1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar and the water in a small saucepan and cook over moderate heat until the sugar melts and turns golden brown. Pour this into a 6-cup (1.5 L) mold (or into 6 individual ramekins) and tilt to cover the entire bottom of the mold. In a separate pan, heat the milk until a film forms on top. Remove from the heat and cool. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and remaining sugar together. Add the milk and the remaining ingredients and mix well but not too briskly-you don't want bubbles in the mixture. Pour into the mold and place the mold in a large baking dish filled with enough hot water to reach halfway up the side of the mold. Bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for 1 hour, until the custard is set and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool at room temperature for 1 hour, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. To unmold, run a knife around the edge of the mold and invert onto a serving platter. Serves 6.


This luscious dessert is the perfect topper to a Mexican meal. You can make just the pudding, with or without the sherry, or you can dress it up as I have here.

12 ladyfingers, split horizontally (or pound cake, sliced 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick)
Apricot jam
2 cups (500 ml) finely chopped fresh (if possible) or canned pineapple
1/2 cup (125 ml) blanched almonds, ground in a food processor or blender
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) dry sherry (optional)
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (125 ml) sour cream
1/4 cup (60 ml) toasted slivered almonds

Combine the pineapple, ground almonds, egg yolks, sugar, half (1/4 cup) of the optional sherry, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened-do not boil. Set aside to cool. Spread a thin layer of apricot jam on the ladyfingers or pound cake. Place half in the bottom of a serving dish and sprinkle with half the remaining sherry. Spread half the pineapple mixture on top. Repeat. Chill for at least one hour, and spread a layer of sour cream on top. Garnish with the toasted almonds. Serves 4 to 6.


My standing as the publisher with the most rice pudding recipes to his credit is undisputed. As desserts go, they are relatively nutritious, they have many variations around the world due to their universal popularity, they're inexpensive, and they taste great. Do I need more reasons why rice pudding is among my favorite desserts?

2 cups (500 ml) water
2 inches (5 cm) cinnamon stick
A piece of lemon zest about 2 x 3/4 inches (5 x 2 cm)
1 cup (250 ml) rice
4 cups (1 L) milk
3/4 cup (180 ml) sugar
A pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1/2 tsp (2 ml) vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60 ml) raisins
1 Tbs (15 ml) butter cut into small pieces
Ground cinnamon for garnish

Combine the water, cinnamon stick, and lemon zest in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the rice, bring back to the boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Stir in the milk, sugar, and salt and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid begins to thicken, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick and lemon zest. Whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and some of the hot rice mixture in a small bowl. Stir the yolk mixture into the rice mixture along with the raisins. Spread the mixture into a greased 8-inch (20 cm) square baking dish, dot with the butter, and cook under a preheated broiler until the top is lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Garnish with ground cinnamon and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8 to 10.


There is a long tradition of sweets made from egg yolks in Spain and Portugal. Egg whites are used to clarify casks of wine, leaving the wine makers with an embarrassment of leftover egg yolks. These were traditionally donated to the local nunnery where the nuns made them into sweets for sale to the public. Even though wine production in Mexico is limited, the tradition of yolk-based sweets introduced by the Spanish was happily adopted my the locals.

2 Tbs (30 ml) raisins
1/2 cup (125 ml) dry sherry
12 egg yolks
2 cups (500 ml) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) water
1 cinnamon stick
2 Tbs (30 ml) toasted pine nuts (pignoli)

Combine the raisins and the sherry in a small cup and allow to steep for at least 30 minutes. Beat the egg yolks until they make a ribbon. Pour into a shallow greased pan which is set in a larger pan partially filled with hot water. Bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven until the eggs are set, about 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature and cut into cubes or diamond shapes. Meanwhile combine the sugar, water, and cinnamon stick in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes, remove the cinnamon stick, add the egg cubes, and simmer over very low heat until the egg cubes are saturated with the syrup. Stir in the raisins and sherry and serve garnished with pine nuts. Serves 4 to 6.


These puffy little fritters are reminiscent of New Orleans' famous beignets.

2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
2 Tbs (30 ml) vegetable shortening
3/4 cup (180 ml) cold water
Oil for deep frying
Powdered sugar and cinnamon for dusting

Sift the dry ingredients together. Cut in the shortening with fork until the mixture is the texture of cornmeal. Add the water gradually to form a dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll as thin as possible and cut into 3-inch (7 cm) squares. Fry in hot (375F, 190C) oil until puffed and golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels and dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Makes about 20, to serve 4 to 6.


This is one of many versions of a traditional Mexican confection, and they are frequently served at weddings as the name suggests. They are members of a class of sweets called polvorones, or "powdery things," so called because of the dusting with powdered sugar.

2 cups (500 ml) flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) sifted powdered (confectioner's) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Pinch of salt
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 cup (200 g) unsalted butter, softened
Additional powdered sugar for dusting

Combine the flour, sugar, nuts, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Mix in the vanilla and butter until the dough forms a ball. Shape the dough into 24 small, round patties and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for 30 minutes, until the cookies are light golden brown. Dust liberally with powdered sugar. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

This is probably as close as we want to get to the way the Aztecs drank their chocolate unless you want to forego the honey in favor of a truly bitter beverage. Use Mexican chocolate (which is already sweetened and flavored with cinnamon, cloves, and ground almonds) if you can get it and eliminate the other ingredients. Otherwise, any unsweetened chocolate will work.

1 cup (250 ml) cold water
1 oz (28 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 Tbs (15 ml) honey, or to taste
1/2 tsp (2 ml) vanilla extract, or to taste

Combine the ingredients in an electric blender and process until the chocolate is dissolved and the mixture is frothy. Serves 1.


This classic Mexican egg dish appears on almost every menu in Mexico. In the old days, when the ranch hands would dine on a light breakfast of coffee and bread when they rose at dawn, this was frequently served at almuerzo, the second meal of the day. Traditionally served with a portion of refried beans, it is hearty enough to get even the hardest working rancheros through the day.

4 Tbs (60 ml) vegetable oil
8 to 12 corn tortillas
8 to 12 eggs
Butter
1 recipe tomato sauce (see index)

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over moderate heat and fry the tortillas until limp. Drain on paper towels and place two tortillas, side by side, on each plate. Fry the eggs in the butter to your preferred degree of doneness. Place the eggs (2 per person) on top of the tortillas and top with tomato sauce. Serve with refried beans. Serves 4 to 6.

Joe Barkson has been writing and publishing under the pen name "The Chef at Worldwide Recipes" since 1998. He came to food writing late in life following checkered careers in computer marketing, graphic design, and teaching high school Spanish. A lifelong interest in food and cooking ("I've been eating since I was a baby," he is fond of saying) was nurtured by extensive international travel during his formative years, and this accounts for the emphasis on world cuisine in his choice of recipes and themes. Twice married and currently happily single, he lives in rural Georgia with a hyperkinetic schipperke that answers to Cooky when the mood strikes him.

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97. Jade Cuisine at Jade Mountain (Anse Chastanet, St. Lucia)

With direction from consulting chef Allen Susser, late of Chef Allen's in Miami, executive chef Jonathan Dearden serves a contemporary menu that marries the flavors of the Caribbean, Latin America, the Pacific Rim, and the Mediterranean at this adults-only retreat with views of the Pitons and Caribbean. Dearden and his team locally source ingredients like cocoa, turmeric, cashews, almonds, avocados, oranges, tangerines, yams, and sweet potatoes from Jade Mountain’s own tropical plantation, Anse Mamin, and lettuce, tropical vegetables, herbs, vanilla beans, bay leaf, nutmeg, cinnamon, mangos, sour oranges, limes, and plantains from Emerald Estate, a rain forest farm. These locally sourced ingredients are combined with local seafood, such as yellowtail snapper, grouper, cobia, wahoo, stone crab, conch, shrimp, and lobster to create a diverse menu that includes "Caviar Kiss" of smoked salmon cream and farm-raised caviar dry-aged filet mignon with purple potato cake and grilled pumpkin and "Chocolate vs. Vanilla," a dessert of flourless chocolate cake, vanilla custard cake, and white chocolate cashew ice cream.


Bollito misto

For the bollito misto:
1) Heat a large braising pot over medium-high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Sear the beef, browning it on both sides, about five minutes a side.

2) Carefully add the stock and enough water to just cover the meat. Add the onion, celery, and bay leaf. Bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for one hour.

3) Add the carrots and potatoes and cook until the meat is tender, about another hour.

4) Carefully lift out the meat, place on a cutting board, and cover with foil. Strain the vegetables from the stock. Discard the celery, onion, and bay leaf. Arrange the carrots and potatoes on a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.

5) Continue cooking the stock uncovered over medium heat until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the meat against the grain, on an angle. Arrange the meat alongside the carrots and potatoes on the platter.

6) When the stock has reduced, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to a gravy dish.

7) Serve the bollito misto with the gravy and bowls of the gorgonzola sauce and the salsa verde.

For the gorgonzola sauce:
1) Put all the ingredients in a food processor and combine until smooth. Serve in a side dish.

For the salsa verde:
1) In a bowl, stir all the ingredients together until combined. Serve in a side dish.


Dinner Menu

Canederli in Broth

  • 300 g (10 oz) stale bread, diced
  • 225 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 60 g (½ cup) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 3 tablespoons (minced) flat leaf parsley
  • 200 g (7 oz) Italian Fontina cheese, diced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 12 cups of vegetable or chicken broth (for boiling)
  • 1 cup per serving of extra vegetable or chicken broth
  • Grated Parmigiano cheese
  • Chives, thinly sliced

Put the stale bread into a large mixing bowl. Add the milk, the eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix well and let it rest for at least two hours, covered with a tea towel, in a cool place or in the refrigerator. Stir occasionally. After the two hours, add the flour, then the parsley and the cheese. Mix gently and set aside.

Heat the oil and butter and cook the onion for ten minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Let the onion cool off, then incorporate it into the flour mixture. Let the mixture rest for another half an hour covered with a tea towel. It should look uniformly moist and slightly sticky.

Using your hands, form the canederli by pressing together enough of the mixture to make balls the size of a small orange. You should be able produce 14-16 balls out of the entire mix.
After making each ball, roll it in flour to seal the outside and prevent the canederli from sticking to each other. When all the canederli are ready, re-roll them into flour and compress them a second time.

Boil the vegetable or chicken broth in a large pot. Place the canederli gently in the pot, wait until the boil is resumed. Boil the canederli for 12-15 minutes (they will be floating the whole time), then drain them gently.

To prepare the canederli in broth:

Heat 1 cup per serving of vegetable or chicken broth (as the one used for boiling will be cloudy because of the flour). Place two to three canederli into each soup bowl, then pour the broth over them. Garnish with grated Parmigiano cheese and chives.

Grilled Tuna with Crushed Fennel Seed

  • 4 fresh tuna steaks, 1 inch thick (about 2 pounds total)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Lemons for garnish

Marinate the tuna for 1 hour with the fennel seeds, finely chopped fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons olive oil and the lemon juice before grilling.

Prepare a hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill for 15 minutes on high.

Season tuna with salt and pepper. Place the tuna steaks on the grill and cook, sprinkled with a bit more fennel seeds if desired, until deep black grid marks appear, 6 to 7 minutes on each side. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and serve with lemon slices.

Half-moon Potatoes – Kipfel De Patate

  • 2 lb potatoes
  • 1/2 lb all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ oz butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender. Once cooked, peel the potatoes and mash them. Add salt and let cool. Once cool, add the butter and egg yolk.

Then add the flour and mix well until you have a smooth mixture. Roll spoonfuls of the mixture into pieces as thick as your little finger and 3 to 4 inches long. Then, shape them into half moons.

Saute the moons in hot oil for a couple of minutes until they puff up a little and are golden in color – a sign of a crispy exterior. Serve the half-moon potatoes hot, sprinkled with salt.

Cappuccio in Insalata – Cabbage Salad

  • A medium cabbage, cored and finely shredded
  • A 1/2 inch thick slice of San Daniele prosciutto
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter over medium heat in a small skillet and add the diced prosciutto. Saute just until the prosciutto begins to brown. Remove from heat.
Combine the cabbage and the crisped prosciutto in a bowl, mix well and season to taste with salt, pepper and a dash of vinegar.

Gubana

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 oz butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons grappa
  • 4 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 cup Marsala
  • 5 oz walnuts, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons almonds, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 oz candied lemon and orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon plain breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg, separated plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Butter for greasing pan
  • 1 tablespoon flour

In a food processor place the flour and 1 1/2 oz. of butter, a whole egg and the grappa. Remove and form into a ball, then flatten it into a rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest while you make the filling.

Let the raisins soften in the Marsala for about 30 minutes and squeeze out the excess liqueur. Put the walnuts, almonds, raisins, pine nuts and candied peel into a bowl.

Saute the bread crumbs in the 2 tablespoons butter and mix it into the nuts with the grated rinds of the orange and lemon. Mix well. Add one egg yolk.

Beat egg white until stiff and fold it into the nut mixture.

Roll out the pastry into a thin rectangle. Spread the filling on top of it. Roll (jelly roll style) and fold in the filling from the long side of the rectangle. Place the dough rolled up into a spiral and set in a buttered and floured round baking pan or casserole dish. Brush with the remaining egg yolk and sprinkle with sugar.


Recipes from Friuli Venezia Giulia

Frico with Potatoes and Cheese

Asiago is a good replacement for Montasio cheese.

Ingredients for 1 frico ( 4 people):

  • 8 oz (250 grams) of potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 9 oz (260 grams) of Montasio cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Grated Grana Padano cheese

Place potatoes in a pot of cold water when it begins to boil cook them for 20 minutes. Drain and mash with a fork.

In the meantime chopped the onion. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet and add the onion. cook until lightly brown. Add the mashed potatoes to the pan with the cheese cubes. Flatten the mixture with a wide spatula and cook until the underside is brown.

Slip the spatula under the mixture and flip it over. Cook until brown on the bottom.

Sprinkle with the grated grana padano cheese, cut into four and serve as an appetizer.

Fresh Pasta with Poppy Seeds and Sugar

This is an unusual sweet sauce not usually found in Italy.

For the pasta:

For the sauce:

Make the pasta:

Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add the salt and the pasta. Cook until al dente then drain, reserving about 2 cups of the pasta cooking water.

Make the sauce:

Warm the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the poppy seeds and warm through until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Keep warm.

Transfer the drained pasta to a large serving platter and toss with the warm poppy-seed butter. Add some of the reserved pasta cooking water, as needed to thin out the sauce it should coat the pasta nicely. Sprinkle with the sugar and toss again. Serve hot.

Cevapcici with Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Sauce

  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 8 ounces lean ground pork
  • 1 onion plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Dash cayenne pepper

To prepare the Cevapcici:

In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, 2 tablespoons chopped onion, garlic, paprika, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Roll the mixture into sausage shapes about 3 inches long and ¾ inch in diameter.

Preheat a grill (or heat a large skillet over medium-high heat). Place the sausages on the grill cook until done, about 5–6 minutes, turning to brown each side.

Serve with the sauce and the onion, chopped.

To prepare the Sauce:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the bell pepper and eggplant on a baking sheet bake until the eggplant is tender and the bell pepper skin begins to brown, about 30–40 minutes. When the bell pepper is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin, stem and seeds.

Slice open the eggplant and scoop out the flesh. Place the bell pepper and eggplant in a food processor, along with the olive oil, vinegar, sugar and cayenne pepper purée until smooth. Season to taste with salt.

Friuli Chocolate Fondue

  • 2 bananas
  • 12 fresh, ripe strawberries
  • 2 pears
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 ¼ lbs (500 gr) dark melting chocolate of excellent quality, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream, slightly scalded
  • 2 tablespoons rum

Wash all the fruit. Slice the bananas and pears into wedges and rub with the sliced lemon to keep them from turning brown. Take care not to use too much lemon as it will alter the flavor of the fruit.

Melt the chocolate pieces in a double boiler.

Remove from the heat and add the rum and the heavy cream.

Serve the chocolate sauce in a warmed ceramic (or clay) bowl and arrange the fruit around it.

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Cod and Lentils with a Red Wine Sauce

P and I had a long weekend in Winchester, it was a foodie weekend due to the restaurants we visited. Our first stop was hugh’s river cottage restaurant which served lovely food and the decor was beautiful. The next night we went to rick steins restaurant I had a shellfish platter and P had monkfish with a red wine sauce and lentils, it was awesome. I never thought fish and red wine would go together, white wine yes but red? It worked a treat with the meaty hake and earthy lentils if you have some red wine knocking around I would defo recommend giving this a go.


Watch the video: Recipe - Salsa Verde