Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen

Gonzalo Guzmán, with Stacy Adimando. Ten Speed, $30 (256p) ISBN 978-0-399-57828-1
Guzmán, chef at the Nopalito restaurants in San Francisco and native of the village of Catemaco in Veracruz, displays refreshing lack of pretension in this personal selection of 100 dishes that “have made the deepest impressions” on him. Chapter introductions are informative: “In the Mexican Kitchen,” for example, lays out three pillars of Mexican cooking (growing your own food, preserving food, using every scrap), and another piece describes how salsa writes a chef’s culinary biography. A primer on chiles and a guide to making masa are useful beyond the scope of this book. These dishes may be “humble,” but the author’s claim that many “are designed for easy weeknight home cooking” is often contradicted. The recipe for quesadillas rojas con chicharrónes requires the pork to braise for two hours, and readers will have to turn elsewhere to make salsa, ancho-corn tortillas (store bought is permitted), and pork rinds. Birria de res (a silky short rib stew with tomatoes) and enchiladas de mole poblano should be made a day in advance. The few simple sweets include camote enmielado, a sweet potato simmered in spiced syrup for an hour. The author’s welcoming affect and sure hand offer much-needed balance to these rewarding but sometimes challenging recipes. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 12/05/2016
Release date: 04/11/2017
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-0-399-57829-8
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