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Authentic Mexican

Authentic Mexican

3.3 16
by Rick Bayless, Maria D. Guarnaschelli (Editor), Deann G. Bayless

Americans have at last discovered Mexico's passion for exciting food. We've fallen in love with the great Mexican combination of rich, earthy flavors and casual, festive dining. But we don't begin to imagine how sumptuous and varied the cooking of Mexico really is.

After ten years of loving exploration, Rick Bayless, together with his wife, Deann, gives us


Americans have at last discovered Mexico's passion for exciting food. We've fallen in love with the great Mexican combination of rich, earthy flavors and casual, festive dining. But we don't begin to imagine how sumptuous and varied the cooking of Mexico really is.

After ten years of loving exploration, Rick Bayless, together with his wife, Deann, gives us Authentic Mexican, the only complete and easy-to-use compendium of our southern neighbor's cooking.

This all-embracing cookbook offers the full range of dishes, from poultry meat, fish, rice, beans, and vegetables to eggs, snacks made of corn masa, tacos, turnovers, enchiladas and their relatives, tamales, and moles, ending with desserts, sweets, and beverages. There are irresistible finger foods such as Yucatecan marinated shrimp tacos and crispy cheese-filled masa turnovers; spicy corn chowder and chorizo sausage with melted cheese will start off a special dinner; you will find mole poblano, charcoal-grilled pork in red-chile adobo, and marinated fish steamed in banana leaves for those times when you want to celebrate; and exotic ice creams, caramel custards, and pies top off any meal. There's even a section devoted to refreshing coolers, rich chocolate drinks, and a variety of tequila-laced cocktails.

The master recipes feature all the pointers you'll need for re-creating genuine Mexican textures and flavors in a North American kitchen. Menu suggestions and timing and advance-preparation tips make these dishes perfectly convenient for today's working families. And traditional and contemporary variations accompany each recipe, allowing the cook to substitute and be creative.

Rick and Deann Bayless traveled over thirty-five thousand miles investigating the six distinct regions of Mexico and learning to prepare what they found. From town to town, recipe by recipe, they personally introduce you to Mexico's cooks, their kitchens, their markets, and their feasts.

More than one hundred illustrations carefully detail special cooking techniques as well as bring Mexico and its food to life. An introductory chapter shares Mexican culinary history and modern regional tastes and customs. And an illustrated glossary contains all that hard-to-find information about locating and working with authentic Mexican ingredients and cooking equipment.

If, like the rest of us, you have a growing love for Mexican food, the reliable recipes in this book and the caring, personal presentation by Rick and Deann Bayless will provide meal after meal of pure pleasure for your family and friends.

Editorial Reviews

Craig Claiborne
. . .one of the greatest contributions to the Mexican table imaginable. It is a no-holds-barred incredible combination of techniques and flavors, endlessly imaginative, exciting to read and a pleasure to simply peruse.
Jeff Smith
These people are serious about authentic Mexican cuisine. And the wonderful illustrations and hints in the book make the cuisine understandable and totally delicious.
Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz
This is a deeply thoughtful, well-researched and loving work. . .by a couple who care about and appreciate the food in all its diverse subtlety.
Bernard Clayton
When I read Authentic Mexican I wanted to leave for Mexico that day but then I realized there was no rush—I had Mexico in my hand in this fine book. . . .Someday, though, I will carry it under my arm to Mexico. . .as an invaluable guide to good food across that country. —Jr. author of The Complete Book of Soups and Stews
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rick Bayless (host of the PBS-TV series Cooking Mexican extensively explores Mexican cookery, analyzing particular national characteristics as well as regional variations of the complex cuisine. He traces the history of Mexican food from the humble squash and beans of thousands of years ago to a cuisine that came to include chiles, corn and the orchard bounties (coconut, pineapple, avocados) of the conquering Spanish. Mexican dishes familiar to Americansthe enchiladas, tamales and tacos that are more properly classified with North American Southwestern cookingare included, but the most interesting recipes are the more exotic: Native American-influenced, spice-sweetened food from the Oaxaca region and simple, European-influenced seafood and vegetable dishes of the Gulf states. The author explains how common flavors (tomatoes, chiles, coriander, lime, onion, garlic) are transformed by proportion and cooking method to produce the regional differences. The book is extremely thorough, with over 650 pages, 19 recipe chapters, a glossary, bibliography and ingredients source list (although most are commonplace). The recipes, which are frequently complicated and challenging, are made less intimidating by especially clear and well-organized instructions, and comprehensive, highly readable notes on techniques, ingredients, timing, advance preparation and variations. Illustrations not seen by PW. (November 17)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Cookbook Library Series
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.21(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Guacamole with Tomatillos (Guacamole de Tomate Verde)
Yield: about 2 cups


8 ounces (5 or 6 medium) fresh tomatillos, huskedand washed drained or one 13-ounce can tomatillos, drained
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 2 chiles serranos or 1 chile jalapeno), stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
4 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
1 ripe, medium-large avocado
Salt, about 1/2 teaspoon


1. The tomatillos. Boil the fresh tomatillos in salted water to cover until just soft through, about 10 minutes; drain and place in a blender jar or food processor. Canned tomatillos need only be drained and put in the blender or food processor.

2. The puree. Add the chile, coriander and onion to the tomatillos (and stir, if using a blender). Blend or process to a coarse puree.

3. The avocado. Halve the avocado lengthwise by cutting from stem to flower ends around the pit. Twist the halves apart, then scoop out the pit and reserve it. Scrape the avocado pulp from the skin and place in a mixing bowl.

4. Finishing the sauce. Mash the avocado until smooth, using a fork or your hand. Scrape in the tomatillo puree and mix well. Season with salt, return the pit to the sauce and cover well. Let stand a few minutes to blend the flavors, then serve.

Timing and Advance Preparation

This guacamole takes about 20 minutes to prepare and, because of the acid in the tomatillos,will keep well without browning; but while the looks may stay, the flavor diminishes after a couple of hours.

Shrimp with Lime Dressing and Crunchy Vegetables (Camarones a la Vinagreta)
Yield: about 3 cups, enough for 12 tacos, serving 4 as a light main course

The refreshing simplicity of this soft taco filling, based on a recipe given to me by a Yucatecan taqueria cook, makes it a perfect complement to some of the richer fillings. Also, it's a delicious first course, hors d'oeuvre or picnic offering. With warm tortillas or good bread and a creamy potato salad, it makes a very good summer supper.


For the shrimp:
1 lime, halved
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, very coarsely ground
1/4 teaspoon allspice berries, very coarsely ground
3 bay leaves
12 ounces good-quality shrimp, left in their shells

For completing the dish:
1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 ripe, medium-small tomato, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
5 radishes, finely diced
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably half olive oil and half vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 or 3 leaves romaine or leaf lettuce, for garnish
Sprigs of coriander (cilantro) or radish roses, for garnish


1. The shrimp. Squeeze the two lime halves into a medium-size saucepan, then add the two squeezed rinds, the black pepper, allspice, bay leaves and 1 quart water. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

Raise the heat to high, add the shrimp, re-cover and let the liquid return to a full boil. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, hold the lid slightly askew and strain off all the liquid. Re-cover tightly, set aside for 15 minutes, then rinse the shrimp under cold water to stop the cooking.

Peel the shrimp, then devein them by running a knife down the back to expose the dark intestinal track and scraping it out. If the shrimp are medium or larger, cut them into 1/2-inch bits, place in a bowl.

2. Other preliminaries. Add the red onion, tomato, radish and coriander to the shrimp. In a small bowl or a Jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the lime juice, oil and salt.

3. Combining and serving. Shortly before serving, mix the dressing ingredients thoroughly, then pour over the shrimp mixture. Toss to coat everything well, cover, and refrigerate or set aside at room temperature.

Line a shallow serving bowl with the lettuce leaves. Taste the shrimp mixture for salt, scoop it into the prepared bowl and serve, garnished with sprigs of coriander or radish roses.

Timing and Advance Preparation

Preparation time is about 1 3/4 hours, most of which is devoted to the shrimp quietly marinating. The shrimp and vegetables can be prepared early in the day: Refrigerate separately, well covered. Dress the salad up to 1 hour before serving.

Meet the Author

Rick Bayless is co-owner, with his wife, Deann, of the perennially award-winning Chicago restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. As a chef and cookbook author, he has won America's highest culinary honors, including Humanitarian of the Year. He is host of the top-rated Public Television series Mexico—One Plate at a Time. His Frontera and Topolo food products can be purchased coast to coast.

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