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Craig SeligmanSometimes the recipes…written with Andrew Friedman, struck me as more timid than they had to be …But most of what I tried I loved.
—The New York Times
At Michy’s, acclaimed as Miami’s best restaurant, Michelle Bernstein is building a national following for her fresh new take on Latin cuisine. Born and raised by a food-loving Argentinean mother in Miami, Michelle grew up fluent in Spanish and steeped in the city’s cosmopolitan, Latin-influenced culture. She explored South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Using the freshest ingredients and the French training she went on to acquire, she has blended all these traditions into a...
At Michy’s, acclaimed as Miami’s best restaurant, Michelle Bernstein is building a national following for her fresh new take on Latin cuisine. Born and raised by a food-loving Argentinean mother in Miami, Michelle grew up fluent in Spanish and steeped in the city’s cosmopolitan, Latin-influenced culture. She explored South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Using the freshest ingredients and the French training she went on to acquire, she has blended all these traditions into a cuisine that is uniquely hers.
Cuisine à Latina introduces us to Michelle’s world. Her Latin food is unlike any that you’ve probably tasted. Full of flavor, it is familiar but exciting—vividly seasoned but not fiery hot, with touches that reflect the casual vivacity of Miami. You’ll find many appetizers to light up a gathering: Fried Calamari with Chile-Coconut Sauce, irresistibly flaky Ground Beef and Tomato Empanadas, and bright Peruvian Mixed Seafood Ceviche. Or start off with Michelle’s cool riff on a Spanish classic, White Gazpacho with Almonds, Grapes, and Cucumber.
Michelle gives you plenty of great party dishes with Latin flair, like Beef Tenderloin with Creamy Horseradish, or the colorful Fideua, bursting with seafood and herbs, which is similar to paella but much easier, and made with spaghetti instead of rice. You’ll also want to try her sensationally simple grilled steak with chimichurri sauce, the Argentinean version of salsa. Her Cornish game hens, marinated in garlic-lime mojo, with chorizo sausage-bread stuffing, are perfect for Thanksgiving—or a summer evening—and she shows you how to make the same recipe with turkey.
Michelle’s uncomplicated “Mama cooking” will spice up your everyday repertoire: Mom’s Arroz con Pollo (chicken with yellow rice), Tuna Schnitzel with Cucumber Slaw, Pork with Prunes and Apricots. Her side dishes and salads beg to be at the center of the plate: Chili-Fried Onion Rings, Mexican-Style Corn on the Cob, and Bibb Lettuce with Avocado, Shredded Jack Cheese, and ButtermilkCharred Jalapeno Dressing. Cuisine à Latina may change your view of Latin food—and it will revitalize your cooking.
A three-time James Beard Award nominee, Michelle Bernstein is chef-owner of the Michy’s in Miami, Michelle’s at Carysfort in Key Largo, Florida, and MB in Cancun. A former professional ballerina, she trained at Johnson & Wales and under the renowned chef Jean-Louis Palladin.
Andrew Friedman has coauthored cookbooks with Alfred Portale, Tom Valenti, the former White House chef Walter Scheib, and many others. He also coedited the popular anthology Don’t Try This at Home and collaborated on the New York Times best-selling memoir Breaking Back.
For those in search of a unique culinary voice, Bernstein is the one to tune in to. A Jewish-Latina who studied classical French technique, worked in several four-star restaurants, danced ballet on a professional level and now runs Michy's restaurant in Miami, she is a multicultural force to reckon with. Her first cookbook might profess to be Latina, and indeed there are many traditional Latin entrees like Grilled Steak with Two Chimichurris, Arroz con Pollo and Paella, but there's more to the bounty than that. Her travels through Spain influence dishes like Halibut over Salmorejo (a variation of gazpacho); a pasta section weaves itself around such Italian staples as risotto, gnocchi and lasagna; and there are some Greek treats like a unique Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Feta and Olives. Variations on Bernstein's mother's cooking are also plentiful, including a decidedly nonkosher Chicken Liver Parfait that contains both butter and bacon. She even reprints mom's Mustard-Crusted Brisket recipe, with its secret ingredient: Lipton's Onion Soup Mix. Some extremely useful tips are buried inside several of the recipes. Lobster Bisque is intensified with the flavor of roasted lobster shells. Rice turns "plumpand shiny" when cooked in stock and beer. Bernstein generally opts for savory over sweet, never more so than when she offers just a Bread Pudding for dessert in the appropriately titled, "Shortest Dessert Chapter Ever." (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.