Cuisine Latina: Fresh Tastes and a World of Flavors from Michy's Miami Kitchen

Michelle Bernstein, Author, Andrew Friedman, Author, John Kernick, Photographer . Houghton Mifflin $30 (275p) ISBN 978-0-618-86750-9

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.)

Reviewed on: 06/16/2008
Release date: 11/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Discover what to read next