Enjoy vibrant, generous, and simple recipes with Latin flair! Includes zesty dishes to go with cocktails or full holiday meals.
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Brazilian Chicken Rainbow Salad
(Salpico de Galinha)
Cheerfully colorful salads of cooked diced meats and cooked vegetables, often dressed with a thin coating of mayonnaise, are very popular in Latin America, where they are referred to as salpicn, or salpico in Portuguese. This version, from central Brazil, is a particularly attractive combination of chicken, tender corn, beans, apples, raisins, and hearts of palm. The recipe comes from Dora, a cook from Ouro Prto. She suggests using just enough mayonnaise to lightly coat the ingredients without obscuring their taste.
2 1/2 cups diced cooked skinless chicken breast
1 1/3 cups cooked corn kernels (from 4 large ears)
1 1/2 cups cut-up cooked green beans (cut into 1/2-inch lengths)
2 medium cooked carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into fine dice
1 large tart green apple, (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cup dark raisins
1 cup chopped well-drained canned hearts of palm
About 1/2 cup good-quality mayonnaise
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. To make the salad: Mix the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
2. To make the dressing: In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and water.
3. Toss the salad with the dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 4 to 5
Marinated Peruvian Swordfish Brochettes
(Anticuchos de Pescado)
In Peru, the word anticuchorefers to the unbelievably tasty skewers of beef heart--marinated in cumin, garlic, chile, and vinegar--grilled on braziers on most street corners. However, anticuchos are also made with chicken or meaty fish, such as bonito or swordfish.
6 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet mild paprika
1 small dried red chile, crumbled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 pound boneless 1-inch thick swordfish steaks, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons annatto oil (page 376)
1. Soak eight short bamboo skewers in cold water for 1 hour.
2. With a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and salt to a paste. (Alternatively, you can crush the garlic in a press and stir it into the salt.) Transfer the mixture to a glass bowl and add the cumin, paprika, chile, lemon juice, and vinegar. Add the fish, toss to coat it with the mixture, and marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Remove the fish from the marinade and shake off the excess. Reserve the marinade.
3. Prepare coals for grilling or preheat the broiler. Thread the fish on the skewers and brush it with the olive oil. Grill until the fish is lightly charred and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
4. While the fish is grilling, place the reserved marinade in a small skillet with the annatto oil, and set it over medium heat until it sizzles, about 3 minutes.
5. Remove the fish from the grill, brush with the hot marinade mixture, and serve at once.
Serves 4 as a light supper, or 8 as an appetizer
Senora Sanchez's Roast Chicken with Plantain and Sausage Stuffing
(Pollo al Horno con Relleno de Maduros y Chorizo)
Senora Sanchez is the wife of my ebullient Colombian butcher. He noticed my interest in culinary matters (I am the only gringa on the block who buys pig's feet, dried meat, and his excellent chorizo) and introduced me to his wife, Soledad, a well-known cook in the Colombian community. "The pollo is so sabroso, and you won't find this 'formula' in any book," she exclaimed, proud of her invention. She was right, the plantains make a great stuffing for the bird. They have the right starchy, lush texture, which doesn't disintegrate with slow cooking, and a striking flavor, which combines excellently with smoked meats or sausages. The same stuffing will also work with turkey just triple the amount. Serve this with Stir-Fried Greens with Chile and Annatto Oil.
1. To prepare the chicken: In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic to a paste together with the salt. Whisk in the oil and orange juice. Rub the chicken all over with this mixture and let it stand while you prepare the stuffing.
2. To make the stuffing: Boil the plantains in salted water to cover until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
4. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the chorizo and cook until lightly browned. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add the plantains, olives, and stock, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring until the plantains are soft. Season with salt to taste.
5. Stuff the cavity of the bird with the stuffing and truss the bird.
6. Place the chicken on a rack in a large roasting pan and roast until the juices run clear when you prick the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer, about 1 1/2 hours.
7. Remove the stuffing from the chicken, transfer it to a bowl, and cover it with foil. Cover the chicken loosely with foil and let it stand for 10 minutes.
8. Carve the chicken and serve accompanied by the stuffing.
Serves 4 to 6
Stir-Fried Greens with Chile and Annatto Oil
(Verduras Salteadas con Achiote y Chiles)
This is an excellent all-purpose side dish for almost any entree in this book. Use any green that strikes your fancy--collard greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, spinach, or bok choy--or a combination.
1 dried red chile, such as arbol or japones
3 tablespoons annatto oil
7 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
1 cup red bell pepper strips
2 pounds greens (see headnote), tough stems removed, washed and dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Stem the chile and shake out the seeds. Using scissors, cut the chile into four pieces.
2. In a wok or a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over low heat. Add the garlic and chile and saut until the garlic is light golden, 2 to 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the garlic and chile to a bowl.
3. Turn the heat up to high and add the red pepper. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the greens and cook, tossing and stirring, until they just wilt; the time will depend on the greens you have chosen, anywhere from 3 to 6 minutes.
4. Transfer the greens to a serving platter and garnish with the fried garlic and chile.
Serves 4 to 6
Old World European sweets such as meringues, trifles, and custards are the backbone of the South American family dessert repertoire. Often these are studded with tropical fruits and, in the old French tradition, given fancy names such as "fantasy," "surprise," or "queen such and such." This is one such recipe, given to me by a cake vendor in a Sao Paulo park. The name? Carmen Miranda, she blurted out cheerfully. The dessert proved as flamboyant as its namesake: layers of champagne biscuits (for which I have substituted ladyfingers), soaked in cachaa (Brazilian "white lightning"), luscious tart custard, and a cornucopia of tropical fruit. The recipe's creator specified Philadelphia Cream Cheese, which is a huge hit in South America. This is a wonderful party dessert, and the recipe can easily be doubled if you are serving a large crowd.
4 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
12 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 cup cachaa or white rum
One and a half 7-ounce packages ladyfingers
2 cups diced ripe mangoes, plus more for garnish
2 cups diced ripe pineapple, plus more for garnish
2 cups diced ripe papaya, plus more for garnish
1. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with 2/3 cup of the sugar until light and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, and simmer, whisking constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
2. In a food processor, combine the yolk mixture with the cream cheese and process until
fluffy and blended.
3. With clean beaters, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. Fold this into the cream cheese mixture.
4. In a small saucepan, bring the cachaa to a simmer with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar stirring to dissolve the sugar, about 5 minutes. Cool a little and transfer to a bowl.
5. Dipping them in the cachaa as you work, place one third of the ladyfingers in the bottom of a 9-inch glass bowl. Cover with the diced mangoes and then with one third of the cream cheese mixture. Cover with another third of the ladyfingers, the pineapple, and one third of the cream cheese mixture. Repeat, using the remaining lady fingers, the papaya, and finishing with the remaining cream cheese. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve garnished with diced fruit.
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