Mexican cuisine combines the traditional indigenous foods of the Aztecs and Mayas, like chocolate, corn, tomato, avocado, beans and chile peppers, with the meats, rice and garlic brought to Mexico by the Spanish conquistadores.
By Reed Hearon
Picture nightfall on the coast of Mexico. A pile of mesquite branches is gathered and a fire is lit. A glistening red snapper, caught moments before, is quickly cleaned and smeared with a paste of citrus and spices. It sizzles briefly as it is laid across the grill...From the coast of Quintana Roo to the cattle country of Northern Mexico, the grill defines the celebration of life that is Mexican cooking.
—From the Introduction to La Parilla
In this lavishly illustrated volume, acclaimed chef Reed Hearon explores the limitless range of the grill with over 80 sensational recipes for everything from a simple snack to a full-fledged fiesta. With stunning photographs by Laurie Smith, La Parilla: The Mexican Grill is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate, as it celebrates the spirit of communal feasting and traditional regional Mexican cooking.
The recipes in La Parilla are perfectly suited to the home cook. As Hearon explains: "This is real food. Earthy. Healthful. Full of flavor. Fun-and easy-to cook and eat." and although some of the ingredients and cooking techniques sound exotic, writes Hearon, "The pleasure of the Mexican grill is that it is so simple. It is about a few ingredients, creatively prepared and combined to maximize flavor, then cooked over a fire, and served with spicy, contrasting salsas."
A volume that captures the essence of the Mexican grill, La Parilla includes chapters on recados (flavorful marinades intended to bring out natural flavors), salsas, seafood, poultry, meats, vegetables, fiesta dishes, and desserts. Filled with tempting entrees, including a classic Yucatan dish of Grilled Snapper with Charred Habanero Salsa, flavorful Chicken Brochettes with Chipotle and Guacamole, and Pork Ribs with Tamarind Recado, La Parilla also presents sumptuous side dishes, including Grilled Wild Mushrooms, Grilled Goat Cheese in Banana Leaves, and Grilled Corn on the Cob with Chipotle Rub and Lime. Savory desserts like Grilled Bananas with Rum Ice Cream complete this enticing volume.
With sections on ingredients (offering origin, cooking tips, and availability), equipment, grilling techniques, as well as a list of sources that specialize in unusual ingredients, La Parilla makes authentic Mexican cooking accessible to cooks of all levels of experience and is as delightful to read as it is to cook from.
Reed Hearon was the owner and chef of San Francisco's Restaurant Lulu, Black Cat, Rose's and Cafe Marimba in the 1990s. Hearon had been the executive chef at Denver's Rattlesnake Club and at San Francisco's Corona Bar & Grill. He was selected in 1987 as one of the thirty most promising young chefs in the country by Gael Greene, Larry Forgione, and Julia Child. Hearon was also recognized by Food & Wine as one of the best chefs of 1994. He is the author of several cookbooks, including Salsa: Musica for Your Mouth, and Bocaditos: The Little Dishes of Mexico.
Laurie Smith's photographs have appeared in such publications as Saveur, Time, and Garden Design. She lives in Maryland.
La Parilla: The Mexican Grill
By Reed Hearon
Photographs by Laurie Smith
Chronicle Books, 1996
Price: $19.95, paper
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