I could not think of a better book to find authentic, tried-and-true Latin recipes. Perhaps you’ve eaten at one of Chef Jose Garces’ restaurants in Philadelphia or elsewhere, and experienced his mastery of Latin flavors. If so, you are now nodding in agreement. The book recounts his exploration of five different country’s cuisines: Ecuador, Spain, Cuba, Mexico, and Peru, and contains the genius of a chef’s imagination in all the recipes. Truth be told, I am the designer of this cookbook—so am well acquainted with the recipes! Serve these little rolls at your party to great applause.
Yuca Bread with Queso Fresco
The ratio of flour to cheese seems crazy, but it works. Serve the bread hot (for a spongy texture) or warm (for a denser interior with the dough settling more and forming air pockets).
MAKES ABOUT 20 LITTLE ROLLS
1 CUP yuca flour
1 LB queso fresco, finely grated (4 cups)
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
2 TB whole milk
1 TB unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
serve with Guava-Chile Butter (recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, cheese, egg, baking powder, milk, butter, salt, and sugar in a bowl and knead them together until thoroughly mixed and fairly smooth. Form the dough into about 20 round balls. Bake the rolls on the baking sheet for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. To reheat, cover the bread loosely with aluminum foil and heat for 6 to 8 minutes in a 200°F oven.
At Chifa, my Peruvian-Asian restaurant, the pan de yuca with this delicious sweet-spicy-salty spread is a the hit among our customers. It would also be tasty on crusty bread, toast, or savory scones. Makes 4 cups
1 (21-oz) can guava paste
1/4 CUP Chinese black vinegar
1/4 CUP sriracha sauce
2 TB salted butter, at room temperature
In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the guava paste until it is smooth and has lightened in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula several times. Slowly drizzle in the vinegar while mixing on low speed and scrape the bowl down again. Add the sriracha and continue mixing on low. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the butter. Mix just to combine thoroughly.
Store the butter in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
—Excerpted from “The Latin Road Home” by Jose Garces, photos by Jason Varney.
See more recipes for a hot and steamy Latin dance party in our 07 A Latin Fiesta