BBQ Bonanza Guest Post: Latin Grill

After a short hiatus, we're back. Had a little behind the scenes housekeeping to do. Getting our groove back now...

My friend David Dadekian writes for Go Local Providence, and writes his own blog and is a wonderful photographer. We've shared a fantastic whole hog meal at Craigie on Main and share a real passion for cooking for our families, (even if it's not pork!) We also share a love for good, local food, and wine. I'm eager for when we'll eat again together again soon.

At the beginning of the Summer I kicked off the grill season with this series called BBQ Bonanza. See the links below to go to other guest bloggers' reviews of the season's great crop of Grilling and Barbecuing books.

 

 

Latin Grill by Rafael Palomino with Arlen Gargagliano, photographs by Dan Goldberg



 

“Latin Grill” is a good cookbook for someone who would like to start experimenting with Central and South American flavors.  The light conversational style of Chef Palomino’s writing works well to make his topic friendly, as does the design of the book with it’s bold, large font headings and bright orange, lime green and brown color palette.  It was nice to see the first few pages cover novice grilling tips, such as which grill and what tools are necessary.  Though I don’t entirely agree that a gas grill will work for everything, I did like that Palomino said, if possible, having both charcoal and gas is best.  The recipes run the range from ceviches to desserts and drinks, so I wouldn’t call it strictly a grilling book.  That said, wherever Palomino could utilize a grill in a recipe he does.  Three of the ceviches have grilled elements in them (asparagus, mushrooms and tomatillos) as do some of the salads.

 

One area that I thought could have been laid out differently was the meats.  Palomino offered several recipes that essentially were sauces that could go with various grilled meats, but instead of separating them out into the back of the book’s Basics section with so many other sauces, they are included in the meats section as a recipe unto itself.  There are two different lamb and three different steak recipes and basically the gist is grill this meat and add this sauce.  Aside from that indexing, the recipes are all very clear and well laid out and the three that I tried were all very successful.  Perhaps I should make one special note about the photography, since that is my stock in trade as well.  I really enjoyed looking at Dan Goldberg’s images and my wife Brenda actually based her vote on what I should cook (I gave her a few choices from the book) on the photo of the dish.  I would have liked to have seen something besides straight food photographs.  All the food is beautifully captured, but maybe some photos of actual grilling would have helped the feel of the book.

 

So what did we decide to eat?  I went against the grilling grain and chose something vegetarian since I’ve grilled all kinds of meats and wanted to stretch a bit into something I don’t do as much.  I chose the Grilled Flour Tortillas with Goat Cheese, Peruvian Olives, and Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers (though for honesty, I didn’t get any yellow peppers, just red).  It read really deliciously with great ingredients (none of the recipes in the book looked liked they’d have any ingredients that would be too hard to find) plus that photo really swayed Brenda.

 

 

As I set about prepping everything for the dish I ran into the one quirk of the book that I didn’t love.  Many of the recipes require sub-recipes having been prepped before.  In the case of the Grilled Flour Tortillas I needed the roasted peppers (not a big deal) and a Peruvian Olive, Cilantro, and Thyme Tapenade.  The Tapenade was easy enough to make, but was quite time consuming, beginning with roasting garlic and grilling red onions (see photo), and I didn’t really factor that into my prep time.  You say, so what, eat later.  I say, do you have a two-year-old?  As I said, it’s a small quirk and now that I’ve made something from the book, it’s easily avoided in the future.

 

So I made the Tapenade, I’ve got everything prepped for the Grilled Tortillas, but I felt there was one section of the book that really needed testing and as it turns out it’s a really great section with many wonderful ideas that I would definitely recommend not skipping.  The last section of the book before Basics is Bebidas (Beverages).  I had just picked up some now-in-season blueberries and raspberries that day and thought a Blueberry and Raspberry Margarita sounded perfect while I grilled.  It was and I plan on trying Palomino’s Dulce de Leche Martini soon.

 

 

The Grilled Tortillas were delicious.  They tasted even better than I expected or as Brenda said, they tasted even better than the photo looked.  The tortillas toasted a little bit on the grill so they were almost cracker-like but still somewhat chewy, grilling into almost a folded flatbread.  The combination of goat cheese, red peppers, arugula and tapenade (what a good tapenade) was great.  Bottom line to me with any cookbook is, can you cook out of it, and there are several more dishes in “Latin Grill” that I’ve never made before that I know I want to try now.

 

 

 

 

Tell us what you've been grilling. Favorite tip or recipe?

What's in the works for Labor Day?