Mexico: One Plate at a Time

Overview

Rick Bayless has been acclaimed widely as America's foremost proponent of Mexico's thrillingly diverse cuisine. In this companion book to his 26-part Public Television series, he takes us, with boyish enthusiasm, through Mexican markets, street stalls and home kitchens to bring us the great dishes of Mexico, one "plate" at a time. And each "plate" Rick presents here is a Mexican classic. Take guacamole, for instance. After teaching us the essentials for a perfect, classic guacamole, Rick shows how to spin ...

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Overview

Rick Bayless has been acclaimed widely as America's foremost proponent of Mexico's thrillingly diverse cuisine. In this companion book to his 26-part Public Television series, he takes us, with boyish enthusiasm, through Mexican markets, street stalls and home kitchens to bring us the great dishes of Mexico, one "plate" at a time. And each "plate" Rick presents here is a Mexican classic. Take guacamole, for instance. After teaching us the essentials for a perfect, classic guacamole, Rick shows how to spin contemporary interpretations, like his Roasted Poblano Guacamole with garlic and parsley. Rick's cuisine is always lively, but rooted in strong traditions.
Always the teacher, Rick begins each "plate" with some never-before-found features: traditional benchmarks (Rick's idea of the best guacamole), when to think of the recipes (weeknight dinners or casual party food), and advice for American cooks (Rick's insight into the ingredients that make the dish). He rounds out each "plate" with suggestions for working ahead.
To complete the journey into the Mexican mindset, Rick, with help from his testers, ends each "plate" with a question-and-answer section detailing just about everything a home cook might want to know: What are the best cuts of beef for grilled tacos? The best cheeses for quesadillas? Is one grill better than another? Rick draws from his years of living in Mexico, pulling us into the Mexican kitchen, to teach us how to create authentic Mexican dishes in our American kitchens.
Rick is an Indiana Jones of the stove, a Julia Child of Mexican cuisine in black jeans and a T-shirt. Rick's goal: to enable folks all across the United States to create dishes that weave in the rich tapestry of Mexican flavor with ingredients that are widely available. He always provides ingredients that make the dish authentic, but he also delivers with the right substitute if an ingredient is hard to find.
Experience food you can't wait to make in a new and user-friendly cookbook that contains the full range of dishes — Starters, Snacks and Light Meals; Soups, Stews and Sides; Entrées; Desserts and Drinks. Rick serves up such classic Mexican plates as Tomatillo-Braised Pork Loin, Quick-Fried Shrimp with Sweet Toasty Garlic, Chiles Rellenos, Cheesy Enchiladas Suizas, and Mexican Vanilla-Scented Flan.
And for an exciting taste of the unexpected, try Rick's contemporary interpretations of the classics — Crispy Potato Sopes with Goat Cheese and Fresh Herbs, Grilled Salmon with Lemon-and-Thyme-Scented Salsa Veracruzana, Broiled Flank Steak with Tomato-Poblano Salsa and Rustic Cajeta Apple Tarts with Berry "Salsa."
Food and friends, food and family. Good cooking, for Rick, is the unspoken animator of friends and family as they gather to share a meal. Rick's recipes lend themselves to weeknight family meals or celebrations. Take part in a tamalada, the tamal-making party before the party, or the ritual of a barbacoa, an earthy experience that Rick has made possible with a kettle grill in the backyard.
24 color photographs of finished dishes Photographs of Mexican location shots throughout

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Our Review
Having grown up on California-Mexican food, I've always been reluctant to acknowledge that Mexican cooking could go beyond the familiar burritos and tacos that I loved. These drippingly delicious snacklike foods were so satisfying that I never felt the need to venture further into the cuisine. Rick Bayless, one of America's most brilliant chefs and a staunch proponent of classic Mexican cooking, has written his latest cookbook, Mexico One Plate at a Time, for people just like me. It was written because, as Rick recently told me, "most (North) Americans aren't at all familiar with the real cooking of our next-door neighbor Mexico, and I realized that we would have to take a big step to become acquainted with their classics -- like we began doing with Italian food about 25 years ago."

"Is this a book that Mexicans will also enjoy?" I asked. "Most definitely," answered Rick. "In Mexico One Plate at a Time we cover a broad spectrum of the classics of Mexican cooking -- the types of food that people know from one end of the Republic to the other. These are all recipes that would make a Mexican's mouth water at their mention."

Being a cookbook writer myself, I was particularly taken with the layout of Mexico One Plate at a Time: and I think that it will also have great appeal to home cooks. With each recipe, we are given an informative introduction, then the absolute best recipe possible, followed by Rick Bayless's contemporary take on the recipe, and finally a Question and Answer section that brings together any queries that the recipes might have provoked during testing. This came about, said Rick, because "I have spent over 25 years studying Mexican cooking, visiting the country, and reading cookbooks (some of which go back to the 1800s). All of this studying has made it possible for me to understand how to put together some perfect dishes. Sometimes we tested a recipe over 20 times, as I wanted to make sure that anyone cooking from Mexico One Plate at a Time would end up with the exact dish that I had created in my kitchen."

For Rick Bayless, one of the most exciting sidebars to this cookbook is the fact that it is the companion to his new 26-part PBS television series of the same name. Mexico One Plate at a Time began broadcasting in midsummer in some areas but will be seen on almost all public television stations by the late fall. In the series, as in the book, we see Rick (sometimes accompanied by his daughter, Lanie) in Mexico visiting markets, street stalls, restaurants, and home kitchens, and then we find him in his own backyard (often literally) re-creating the dishes he has discovered.

Both the series and the book, Mexico One Plate at a Time, for the first time truly bring the cuisine of this warm and friendly nation alive in the American kitchen. Rick Bayless has done a masterly job. This is a book that I will read for pleasure and cook from when I want to experience flavorful, fresh, and honest food. I believe that it will be a significant addition to the American cookbook library.

--Judith Choate

From the Publisher
Ira Glass Host of Public Radio International's This American Life Rick Bayless is like the hero of some never-made Saturday morning cartoon for adults: cultural anthropologist by day, top flight chef at night. I hope in his next book he also starts solving crimes and playing in a pop band. That's all his protagonist needs to make the jump from PBS to HBO.

Emeril Lagasse Rick Bayless's passion and thorough knowledge of authentic Mexican food has truly changed our minds and our palates! Great food!

Scott Simon host of National Public Radio's Weekend Edition with Scott Simon, author of Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan Rick Bayless sees in Mexican food the everyday personal celebration of life, art and friendship across a table. His recipes are lucid, allow for error and encourage innovation. I tried the chilaquiles recipe as soon as I opened this book. The results were delicious, my friends were delighted and we laughed and lingered late into the night. I think that's what Rick likes to help bring about with this lovely and lyrical book.

Gary Nabhan MacArthur Award-winning ethnobotanist and author of Coming Home to Eat Rick Bayless has the depth and breadth of knowledge about Mexican food traditions that most food writers can only dream of. Bayless is as vital to the culinary exchange between the U.S. and Mexico as Carlos Fuentes is to our binational literature. Viva Ricardo!

Sara Moulton host of Cooking Live with Sara Moulton Rick Bayless — one of the greatest teachers I know — has demystified Mexican cuisine for American home cooks. He demonstrates that there's much more to this great cuisine than nachos and burritos. Indeed, under Rick's tutelage it appears that Mexican cuisine is as vast and subtle as French or Italian.

Jim Harrison author of Legends of the Fall and The Road Home I have long admired the work of Rick Bayless. In Mexico One Plate at a Time he continues his passionate attempt to introduce us to a long-ignored cuisine. It is a splendid book and anyone who cares about world cuisine will want it in their library.

Jacques Pepin co-author of Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home In Mexico One Plate at a Time, you will discover Mexican cooking as you've never had it in your life. Great dishes and easy techniques make this book a must.

Thomas Keller chef-owner of The French Laundry, Yountsville, California, and author of The French Laundry Cookbook Rick's question-and-answer portion not only touches on the history of a particular dish, but provides personal tips for home cooks to successfully re-create the recipes in their own kitchens. This is definitely the kind of cookbook one returns to again and again.

Daniel Boulud chef-owner of Restaurant Daniel, New York City, and author of Café Boulud Cookbook Rick Bayless has managed to make my mouth water and my mind leave New York (direction Mexico!), all in one book.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten chef-owner of Jean-Georges, JoJo, Vong and the Mercer Kitchen, New York City, and Prime, Las Vegas I just love how Rick has given not only his contemporary recipes but the traditional as well. It's one of the best Mexican cookbooks I have seen.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rarely has a cuisine been so epically dissected, analyzed, pined over and exemplified in the name of a tasty dinner. Indeed, cookbook is perhaps too tame a description for this latest venture from Bayless, the popular chef and author (Salsas That Cook, etc.). Each recipe begins with a stream-of-consciousness consideration that at times runs a bit too jolly. "No food translates into more carefree fun than a singing dish of queso fundido," declares the author. Following the lead-in, a paragraph provides the "Traditional Benchmark," wherein the ideal version of the dish is captured. Thus, readers learn what makes the perfect flan or Pozole (Pork and Hominy Stew). Next come a few words on "When to Think of These Recipes"--Chiles Rellenos when you're pulling out the stops, Tamales for hanging out with the gang. A third paragraph offers "Advice for American Cooks," such as what peppers you can substitute in your Adobado Chicken. Then, at last, come the recipes. Bayless provides both a traditional and contemporary version of most dishes. Among his many happy surprises are a relatively unknown "street-style" enchilada, which is dipped in chile sauce and quick fried, and a grilled Cactus Salad. Each recipe is followed by answers to Frequently Asked Questions. How saucy should the filling be for your taco? Or maybe just tune in and read along to the PBS version, with one of Bayless's Mango Coolers in hand. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Bayless (Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen) is increasingly seen as America's foremost authority on Mexican cookery, and this book, the companion volume to his currently running PBS television series, should further that reputation. Just as in his previous cookbooks, Bayless communicates the sense of joy, satisfaction, and community to be found in traditional Mexican cookery. But he also delves more deeply into the ingredients and techniques involved in producing a wide variety of dishes, from simple sopes (little "boats" made of masa, filled with salsa and cheese, and shallow-fried in lard) and quesadillas to imaginative ceviches and moles. For each type of dish, he offers both traditional and contemporary recipes, reminding us that the strength of a great cuisine is its ability to adapt and evolve. There are helpful questions and answers at the end of each section, based on questions generated by recipe testers, an addition that may be unique to the cookbook genre. There is much here for both neophytes and experienced cooks. Highly recommended for all public libraries.--Tom Cooper, Richmond Heights Memorial Lib., MO Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Richard Corliss
Was there ever a chef as passionate about a cuisine as Bayless is about Mexican food? Now that America is beyond the 'spaghetti-and-meatballs stage" of Italian cuisine, the award-winning Chicagochef is determined to move north-of-the-border cooks beyond the taco.
Time
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684841861
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 8/1/2000
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 217,683
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Rick Bayless has won our country's highest chef honors (James Beard Foundation's National Chef of the Year). He's also won our highest cookbook award for Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen (Julia Child/IACP Cookbook of the Year). His other cookbooks include Authentic Mexican and Salsas That Cook. His famed Chicago restaurants, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, have both won many awards, including the coveted Ivy Award. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Deann, and their daughter, Lane.

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Read an Excerpt

Guacamole

Was there ever a fruit as sensual as an avocado? So rough-hewn, dare-to-touch-me masculine on the outside, so yielding, inviting, soft spring green and feminine inside? Writers have proclaimed that the avocado, tomato and chile are among Mexico's gifts to the world. And they name guacamole, where all three come together, as a perfect work of art.

It's no wonder that this perfect fruit begs to be mashed to enhance its melting, naturally spreadable quality. Early Spanish settlers called guacamole "the butter of the poor." The Aztecs recognized its possibilities when they coined the word "guacamole": "guaca" for avocado and "mole" for sauce.

Mashed avocado invites you to add flavors — think flavored butters here. Yet, considering how perfect it is in itself, the challenge is to exercise restraint. There are Mexican purists who stop at a sprinkle of salt on their avocado mash and call that guacamole. But I think you can employ a little creativity, setting some limits: no mayonnaise or sour cream. Avocado flesh by itself has an unctuous quality and subtle flavor — no need to dilute it. As for the add-ins, these flavor pinpoints seem more welcome when the guacamole is intended for chips. On the Mexican side of the border, guacamole's role is more as a salsa, something you spread on a taco. A smooth version blended with tomatillos can be a delicious drizzle over practically anything edible.

The second recipe here, the contemporary one, produces guacamole that is boosted with roasted poblanos, roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic. Roasting heightens sweetness, yielding a deeper-flavored guacamole. Though this contemporary version is good in and of itself, it is a perfect sauce for salmon steaks or grilled chicken. Whether you choose traditional or contemporary, feel free to pare these recipes down or add to them. They're yours to make your own.

Traditional benchmark: In my opinion, the best guacamole is a simple one — one that glamorizes the flavor of really delicious avocados, plain and simple. That starts with hand-mashing thoroughly ripe avocados to a chunky-smooth texture, then underscoring the avocado's natural richness with a little tang from lime juice, perhaps a little perfumy cilantro, maybe some crunchy onion and a hint of hot green chile. And tomato, too, might go in to boost the flavors with sweetness — though that's not always necessary.

When to think of these recipes: Guacamole is tremendously versatile. It almost defines the phrase "casual party food," but it's so simple to make that there's nothing to keep you from whipping up a batch for Wednesday night dinner, to spoon, say, onto a simple soft taco or over grilled chicken or fish. Guacamole in a warm corn tortilla is a favorite (if not totally balanced) lunch of mine.

Advice for American cooks: Decent avocados are quite readily available, but they're not always ripe. You may have to buy them a few days before you need them to ensure that they'll be soft-ripe.

Classic Guacamole

Guacamole Clásico

Makes about 2 1/2 cups, serving 6 as an appetizer, 8 to 10 as a nibble

Fresh hot green chiles to taste (about 2 serranos or 1 jalapeño), stemmed

1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup),

plus a little extra for garnish

6 ounces (1 medium round or 2 plum) tomatoes (you want

these ripe, though absolute red ripeness isn't as important

here as it is, say, for chopped tomato salsa)

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus a little extra

for garnish

3 medium-large (about 1 1/4 pounds total) ripe avocados

Salt

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

A few slices of radish for garnish (optional)

1. Roasting the chiles. Lay the chiles in a small ungreased skillet set over medium heat. Turn them every minute or so until they have softened (they'll darken in spots), 5 to 10 minutes. Mash them into a coarse puree, using a mortar, or finely chop them. Place in a large bowl.

2. More flavorings. Scoop the chopped onion into a strainer and rinse under cold water; shake off excess water and add to the bowl with the chiles. Chop the tomatoes into small bits — skin, seeds and all is my preference. You should have a scant cup. Add to the bowl along with the cilantro.

3. The avocados. To cut an avocado in half, you have to negotiate the large egg-shaped pit in the middle. Make a cut down the length of 1 avocado straight through to the pit. Continue cutting all the way around the pit until you wind up where you started. Twist the two halves in opposite directions and pull them apart. Scoop out the pit (the hueso, or bone, in Spanish) with a spoon. Then scoop out the avocado flesh from the skin and add to the bowl. Do the same with the remaining avocados. Use an old-fashioned potato masher or the back of a large spoon to mash the avocado flesh into a coarse pulp, mixing in the other ingredients as you go.

4. Seasoning the guacamole. Taste the guacamole and season with salt, usually a scant teaspoon, then add some of the lime juice and taste again. Continue seasoning with lime until the guacamole has enough zip for you. Cover with plastic wrap, placing it directly on the surface, and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.

5. Serving. Unless you're serving guacamole dolloped on tacos or the like, the classic way to present it to your guests is in a Mexican lava-rock mortar (molcajete), sprinkled with chopped onion and cilantro. Sliced radish, if you have it, looks pretty here, and to the Mexican eye completes the very popular, patriotic red-white-and-green motif.

Working Ahead: Guacamole is good when freshly made, but, in my opinion, it tastes even better when the flavors are allowed to mingle for about half an hour before serving. If well chilled, it'll keep for several hours. After that, the flavors get out of balance and the avocado starts to turn brown.

Copyright © 2000 by Rick Bayless

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction

1. Starters, Snacks and Light Meals

Guacamole

Ceviche (Lime-Marinated Seafood)

Queso Fundido

Sopes (Corn Masa Boats)

Gorditas (Corn Masa Pockets)

Quesadillas

Tostadas

Tamales

Taquería Tacos with Grilled and Griddled Fillings (Tacos al Carbón y Tacos a la Plancha)

Home-Style Tacos with Casserole Fillings (Tacos de Cazuela)

Enchiladas

Chilaquiles (Tortilla Casserole)

2. Soups, Stews and Sides

Mexican Chicken Soup

Tortilla Soup

Mexican Seafood Stew

Pozole (Pork and Hominy Stew)

Rice

Beans

3. Entrees

Chiles Rellenos

Turkey with Red Mole

Chicken with Green Pipián (Pumpkin Seed Sauce)

Chicken Adobado (with Red Chile Marinade)

Fish a la Veracruzana (with Tomatoes, Capers, Olives and Herbs)

Fish in Escabeche (Brothy Vinaigrette with Herbs and Vegetables)

Seafood in Mojo de Ajo (Toasty, Slow-Cooked Garlic)

Pork in Salsa Verde (Tomatillo Sauce)

Beef a la Mexicana (with Roasted Tomatoes and Green Chiles)

Carne Asada (Mexican-Style Grilled Steak)

Barbacoa (Slow-Cooked Meats, Pit-Style)

4. Desserts and Drinks

Flan

Rice Pudding

Cajeta (Goat's Milk Caramel Sauce)

Mexican Chocolate

The Quintessentially Tropical Mango

Tequila, Margaritas, Beer and Wine

Mexican Culinary Glossary

An Internet Guide to Mail-Order Sources for Mexican Cooking

Bibliography

Index

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First Chapter

Guacamole

Was there ever a fruit as sensual as an avocado? So rough-hewn, dare-to-touch-me masculine on the outside, so yielding, inviting, soft spring green and feminine inside? Writers have proclaimed that the avocado, tomato and chile are among Mexico's gifts to the world. And they name guacamole, where all three come together, as a perfect work of art.

It's no wonder that this perfect fruit begs to be mashed to enhance its melting, naturally spreadable quality. Early Spanish settlers called guacamole "the butter of the poor." The Aztecs recognized its possibilities when they coined the word "guacamole": "guaca" for avocado and "mole" for sauce.

Mashed avocado invites you to add flavors — think flavored butters here. Yet, considering how perfect it is in itself, the challenge is to exercise restraint. There are Mexican purists who stop at a sprinkle of salt on their avocado mash and call that guacamole. But I think you can employ a little creativity, setting some limits: no mayonnaise or sour cream. Avocado flesh by itself has an unctuous quality and subtle flavor — no need to dilute it. As for the add-ins, these flavor pinpoints seem more welcome when the guacamole is intended for chips. On the Mexican side of the border, guacamole's role is more as a salsa, something you spread on a taco. A smooth version blended with tomatillos can be a delicious drizzle over practically anything edible.

The second recipe here, the contemporary one, produces guacamole that is boosted with roasted poblanos, roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic. Roasting heightens sweetness, yielding a deeper-flavored guacamole. Though thiscontemporary version is good in and of itself, it is a perfect sauce for salmon steaks or grilled chicken. Whether you choose traditional or contemporary, feel free to pare these recipes down or add to them. They're yours to make your own.

Traditional benchmark: In my opinion, the best guacamole is a simple one — one that glamorizes the flavor of really delicious avocados, plain and simple. That starts with hand-mashing thoroughly ripe avocados to a chunky-smooth texture, then underscoring the avocado's natural richness with a little tang from lime juice, perhaps a little perfumy cilantro, maybe some crunchy onion and a hint of hot green chile. And tomato, too, might go in to boost the flavors with sweetness — though that's not always necessary.

When to think of these recipes: Guacamole is tremendously versatile. It almost defines the phrase "casual party food," but it's so simple to make that there's nothing to keep you from whipping up a batch for Wednesday night dinner, to spoon, say, onto a simple soft taco or over grilled chicken or fish. Guacamole in a warm corn tortilla is a favorite (if not totally balanced) lunch of mine.

Advice for American cooks: Decent avocados are quite readily available, but they're not always ripe. You may have to buy them a few days before you need them to ensure that they'll be soft-ripe.

Classic Guacamole
Guacamole Clásico
Makes about 2 1/2 cups, serving 6 as an appetizer, 8 to 10 as a nibble
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (about 2 serranos or 1 jalapeño), stemmed
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup),
plus a little extra for garnish
6 ounces (1 medium round or 2 plum) tomatoes (you want
these ripe, though absolute red ripeness isn't as important
here as it is, say, for chopped tomato salsa)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus a little extra
for garnish
3 medium-large (about 1 1/4 pounds total) ripe avocados
Salt
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
A few slices of radish for garnish (optional)

1. Roasting the chiles. Lay the chiles in a small ungreased skillet set over medium heat. Turn them every minute or so until they have softened (they'll darken in spots), 5 to 10 minutes. Mash them into a coarse puree, using a mortar, or finely chop them. Place in a large bowl.

2. More flavorings. Scoop the chopped onion into a strainer and rinse under cold water; shake off excess water and add to the bowl with the chiles. Chop the tomatoes into small bits — skin, seeds and all is my preference. You should have a scant cup. Add to the bowl along with the cilantro.

3. The avocados. To cut an avocado in half, you have to negotiate the large egg-shaped pit in the middle. Make a cut down the length of 1 avocado straight through to the pit. Continue cutting all the way around the pit until you wind up where you started. Twist the two halves in opposite directions and pull them apart. Scoop out the pit (the hueso, or bone, in Spanish) with a spoon. Then scoop out the avocado flesh from the skin and add to the bowl. Do the same with the remaining avocados. Use an old-fashioned potato masher or the back of a large spoon to mash the avocado flesh into a coarse pulp, mixing in the other ingredients as you go.

4. Seasoning the guacamole. Taste the guacamole and season with salt, usually a scant teaspoon, then add some of the lime juice and taste again. Continue seasoning with lime until the guacamole has enough zip for you. Cover with plastic wrap, placing it directly on the surface, and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.

5. Serving. Unless you're serving guacamole dolloped on tacos or the like, the classic way to present it to your guests is in a Mexican lava-rock mortar (molcajete), sprinkled with chopped onion and cilantro. Sliced radish, if you have it, looks pretty here, and to the Mexican eye completes the very popular, patriotic red-white-and-green motif.

Working Ahead: Guacamole is good when freshly made, but, in my opinion, it tastes even better when the flavors are allowed to mingle for about half an hour before serving. If well chilled, it'll keep for several hours. After that, the flavors get out of balance and the avocado starts to turn brown.

Copyright © 2000 by Rick Bayless

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Recipe

Recipes from Mexico One Plate at a Time

Ceviche de Salmón a la Naranja (Salmon Ceviche with orange, capers and roasted green chile)
Makes 4 cups, serving 8 as an appetizer

1 pound very fresh skinless salmon fillets (you'll need about 1 1/4 pounds if the salmon has the skin -- trim off the skin before proceeding), cut into 1/2-inch cubes or slightly smaller
About 2/3 cup fresh lime juice
About 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 medium red onion, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large fresh poblano chile
2 large seedless oranges
2 tablespoons drained capers
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus some leaves for garnish
Salt
2 generous cups frisée lettuce (what you'll get from 1 small head)
Thin slices toasted French bread or special crackers for serving

1. Marinating the salmon. Place the salmon in a 1 1/2-quart glass or stainless steel bowl and stir in the lime and orange juices and onion. You'll need enough juice to cover the fish and allow it to float somewhat freely. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, until a piece of salmon looks "cooked" about halfway through -- it'll still be translucent pink inside. Drain off all but a little of the juice.

2. The flavorings. Roast the poblano over an open flame or on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, turning regularly until the skin is evenly blistered and blackened, about 5 minutes for an open flame, 10 minutes for the broiler. Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand for 5 minutes. Rub off the blackened skin, then pull or cut out the stem and the seed pod. Tear open and quickly rinse to remove any stray seeds and bits of skin. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces and place in a large bowl.

Cut the stem and blossom ends (tops and bottoms) off both oranges. Then, standing each orange on your cutting board and working close to the flesh, cut away the rind and all the white pith. Cut out the all-orange, no-white-pith segments: With a small sharp knife, cut between the segment-dividing white membranes, releasing perfect little segments (called suprêmes). Cut the segments in half and add to the bowl.

Stir in the capers, cilantro and marinated salmon (with the remaining juice). Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon, then cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately.

3. Serving the ceviche. Divide the frisée among eight martini glasses or small decorative bowls. Spoon the ceviche into the center of the lettuce, lay on a leaf or two of cilantro and you're ready to share this wonderful dish with your guests. Serve with toasts or crackers.

Working ahead: This ceviche is best made the day it is served. After marinating the fish, the flavorings can be successfully added 4 or 5 hours ahead, but spoon the ceviche onto the lettuce when the guests are seated.

Tamales de Pollo con Chile Verde (Green Chile Chicken Tamales)
Makes about 24 tamales

One 8-ounce package dried corn husks

For the filling:
1 pound (10 to 12 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 4 to 6 serranos or 2 to 3 jalapeños), stemmed and roughly chopped
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
3 to 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
Salt
4 cups (about 1 pound) coarsely shredded cooked chicken, preferably grilled, roasted, or rotisserrie chicken
2/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

For the batter:
10 ounces (1 1/4 cups) rich-tasting pork lard (or vegetable shortening if you wish), slightly softened but not at all runny
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 pounds (4 cups) fresh coarse-ground corn masa for tamales OR 3 1/2 cups dried masa harina for tamales mixed with 2 1/4 cups hot water

1. Preparing the corn husks. Cover the husks with very hot water, weight with a plate to keep them submerged and let stand for a couple of hours, until they are pliable.

For forming the tamales, separate out 24 of the largest and most pliable husks -- ones that are at least 6 inches across on the wider end and 6 or 7 inches long. If you can't find enough good ones, overlap some of the larger ones to give wide, sturdy surfaces to spread the batter on. Pat the chosen husks with a towel.

2. Preparing the filling. On a baking sheet, roast the tomatillos about 4 inches below a very hot broiler until soft (they'll blacken in spots), about 5 minutes; flip them over and roast the other side. Cool, then transfer to a food processor or blender along with all the delicious juice that has run onto the baking sheet. Add the chiles and garlic and process to a smooth puree.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. When it is quite hot, add the puree all at once and stir until noticeably thicker and darker, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the broth and simmer over medium heat until thick enough to coat a spoon quite heavily, about 10 minutes. Taste and season generously with salt, usually about 2 teaspoons. Stir in the chicken and cilantro; cool completely.

3. Preparing the batter. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the lard (or shortening) with 2 teaspoons salt and the baking powder until light in texture, about 1 minute. Continue beating for another minute or so, until a half-teaspoon dollop of the batter floats in a cup of cold water (if it floats, you can be sure the tamales will be tender and light).

Beat in enough of the remaining 1/2 cup broth to give the mixture the consistency of soft (not runny) cake batter; it should hold its shape in a spoon. Taste the batter and season with additional salt if you think it needs some.

For the lightest-textured tamales, refrigerate the batter for an hour or so, then rebeat, adding a little more broth or water to bring the mixture to the soft consistency it had before.

4. Setting up the steamer. Steaming 24 husk-wrapped tamales can be done in batches in a collapsible vegetable steamer set into a large deep saucepan. To steam them all at once, you need something like the kettle-sized tamale steamers used in Mexico or Asian stalk steamers, or you can improvise by setting a wire rack on four coffee or custard cups in a large kettle. Pour an inch or so of water into the bottom of the steamer and heat to a boil.

It is best to line the rack or upper part of the steamer with some of the leftover corn husks to protect the tamales from direct contact with the steam and to add more flavor. Make sure to leave tiny spaces between the husks so condensing steam can drain off.

5. Forming the tamales. Cut 24 8- to 10-inch pieces of string or thin strips of corn husks. One at a time, form the tamales: Lay out one of your chosen corn husks with the tapering end toward you. Spread about 1/4 cup of the batter into about a 4-inch square, leaving at least a 1 1/2-inch border at the end toward you and a 3/4-inch border along the other sides (with large husks, the borders will be much bigger). Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the filling down the center of the batter. Pick up the two long sides of the corn husk and bring them together (this will cause the batter to surround the filling). If the uncovered borders of the two long sides you're holding are narrow, tuck one side under the other; if wide, roll both sides over in the same direction around the tamale. (If the husk is small, you may feel more comfortable wrapping the tamale in a second husk.) Finally, fold up the empty 1 1/2-inch section of the husk (to form a tightly-closed "bottom," leaving the top open), and secure it in place by loosely tying one of the strings or strips of husk around the tamale. As they're made, stand the tamales on their folded bottoms in the prepared steamer. Don't tie the tamales too tightly or pad them too closely in the steamer -- they need room to expand.

6. Steaming and serving the tamales. When all the tamales are in the steamer, cover them with a layer of more leftover corn husks; if your husk-wrapped tamales don't take up the entire steamer, fill in the open spaces with loosely wadded aluminum foil to keep the tamales from falling over. Set the lid in place and steam over a constant medium heat for about 1 1/4 hours. Watch carefully to make sure that all the water doesn't boil away and, to keep the steam steady, pour boiling water into the pot when more is necessary.

Tamales are done when the husks peel away from the masa easily. Let the tamales stand in the steamer off the heat for a few minutes to firm up. For the best-textured tamales, let them cool completely, then steam again for about 15 minutes to heat them through.

Working ahead: Both filling and batter can be made several days ahead, as can the finished tamales; refrigerate, well covered. Resteam (or even microwave) the tamales before serving. For even more flexibility, batter, filling and finished tamales can all be frozen. Defrost finished tamales in the refrigerator overnight before resteaming.

Manteca de Cerda (Fresh Pork Lard)
Makes 1 3/4 cups

Okay, okay. I know I've said it before, but no one seems to remember: Lard has less than half the cholesterol and about one-third less saturated fat than butter! You won't drop dead if you eat a little bit of it every once in a while. And using it won't raise any questions about your moral fiber. In fact, it's delicious, digestible and the perfect flavor component in many Mexican dishes. When buying pork lard, I suggest you look for fresh-rendered lard from a Mexican or other ethnic butcher, rather than the hydrogenated pale blond bricks they sell in most groceries. Or, go through the easy steps of making it yourself.

2 pounds pork fat (scraps trimmed off roasts and chops are good here, but don't use salt pork or fatty bacon -- those flavors are very strong)

Cut the pork fat into 1-inch cubes. Spread it out in a deep baking dish and set it in an oven turned on to 275 degrees F. Stir it every once in a while as the fat renders into a clear liquid. When the baking dish contains only clear liquid and browned bits, after about 2 hours, carefully remove the dish from the oven. (Letting the cracklings, as the browned bits are called, color richly gives the lard a fuller, roastier flavor.)

Let the lard cool to lukewarm, then strain. (The little browned bits are wonderful sprinkled over a salad.) Store the lard in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator -- or freezer, if you're not going to use it all within a month.

Horchata de Almendra (Almond-Rice Cooler)
Makes 6 cups, serving 8

Though it may sound a touch odd to North Americans, this milky-looking cool drink is ubiquitous in Mexico. It's refreshing while offering the comforting flavors of rice pudding. But since it's made from soaked, raw rice, there's no thickishness to make it heavy or cloying. I am, however, offering a recipe enriched with almonds (patterned after my all-time favorite version at Casilda in the old downtown Oaxaca market); most cooks use only rice. And, for those interested in a seductive experience, make horchata with milk rather than water.

2/3 cup (5 ounces) rice -- medium- or long-grain rice is fine
1 1/4 cups (6 ounces) blanched almonds
A 3-inch piece of cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican canela
4 1/2 cups water (or 2 1/2 cups water and 2 cups milk)
1 cup sugar, plus a little more if desired

In a large bowl, combine the rice, almonds, cinnamon stick, and 2 1/2 cups of the water -- here it should be hot tap water. Cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Pour the mixture into the blender, add the sugar and blend on high for several minutes, until the mixture is as smooth as possible -- there will still be a hint of grittiness when you rub a drop between your fingers. Strain through a fine sieve (if yours isn't very fine, line it with cheesecloth), pressing on the solids until only a dryish pulp remains. Pour into a pitcher, add the remaining 2 cups (cold) water (or the milk), taste and sweeten with a little more sugar if you wish. Serve over ice. In Oaxaca, they swirl a little pureed red cactus fruit (tuna or jiotilla) into each glass, turning the horchata rosy, then top the drink with cubed canteloupe and broken pecans.

Recipes from Mexico One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless. Copyright © 2000 by Rick Bayless.

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 25, 2011

    Great Authentic Recipes.

    Rick thank you for bringing this book. We loved watching your show when it was on and we're hoping you will return soon. I am hoping you will introduce this book and others on DVD so we can go step by step and pause so we can complete the step before moving on to the next. Rick knows more about the food, the people and the recipes than we could ever hope to know.

    He's the "Real Deal", trust me. We love your passion and respect for the culture whom you represent in this book. Awsome job Rick. I've purchased 3 books of yours for Christmas Presents. My granddaughter especially who in her heart really wanted to be a chef be we can not afford the tuition. So thank you for giving us these wonderful recipes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2003

    You should know!

    After watching One Plate at a Time on my local PBS station I wanted to order this book. It can not be done through PBS. My roommate works for the PBS call center, with her help, we did an extended search on the PBS site and local PBS station's site, to no avail. One of those, 'You can't get there from here.' Thank you Barnes & Noble! for making it so easy to find this.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2002

    Best I've Ever Seen

    I love this cookbook. So much so I ordered one of his others, Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen. He explains in detail how to get it all together. The first week I had this book I tried 3 different recipes. All were so very good. You just can't miss with these books. Not the typical tacos and enchilladas but exciting new things to taste and easy to create.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2000

    Extremely Authentic - Just like we remember.

    My wife grew up in Oaxaca, and last summer we went to Mexico for three weeks of Vacation. So when she brought this book home from our local library, I was interested in seeing if Bayless had indeed captured the flavor of the country. From the first recipe we tried, it was apparent that this was not just another cutesy Tex-Mex cookbook. My congratulations on a job well done. This book is so authentic, that we even recognized some people we met during our stay. If you realllllllly want to taste Mexico without actually going there, prepare yourself for a treat, this is the definitive work on the subject of 'real' Mexican cuisine. We cannot go without this book for extended periods, so now we own a copy instead of taking our chances at the library. I have one complaint however. He doesn't tell us where in this country we can get those watermelon sized Papayas that we found in the Mitla and Tlacolula markets.

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