The Latin Road HomeSavoring the Foods of Ecuador, Spain, Cuba, Mexico, and Peru

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Jose Garces’ The Latin Road Home: Savoring the Foods of Ecuador, Spain, Cuba, Mexico, and Peru, a cookbook that is part travelogue, part literary food memoir.

Jose Garces’ The Latin Road Home: Savoring the Foods of Ecuador, Spain, Cuba, Mexico, and Peru, a cookbook that is part travelogue, part literary food memoir. Spanning cultures and continents, The Latin Road Home is a look back at the many food traditions that have shaped Garces’ culinary life.

 

Beginning in Ecuador, ancestral home to his family and the foods nearest to his heart, Garces celebrates the traditional recipes of his childhood. The book makes its way through Spain, Cuba, Mexico, and Peru—extraordinary cuisines Garces has come to know, love, and master. He shares not only recipes, but colorful memories of local cultures and insights into their unique ingredients and techniques. The cookbook features over 100 recipes tailored to the home cook, accompanied by over 100 food and travel photographs that truly immerse the reader.

 

Each chapter features a different country with menus highlighting Garces’ takes on both mainstays of home cooking and popular street foods. The book is full of recipes for bright salads and ceviches, comforting stews, hearty beans, and tender braised meats. When a celebratory feast is in order, Jose’s party menus are full of hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and impressive fare for a kind of night where cooking becomes a part of the festivities.

 

Recipes are titled in both English and Spanish and stay true to their roots. Soulful, vibrant Latin dishes such as these will surely become the home-cooked staples of readers’ kitchens: Green Plantain Empanadas with Braised Chicken, Grilled Spring Onions with Almond Sauce, Fried Stuffed Chiles, Braised Beef Stew with Red Beans, Pan-Roasted Shrimp with Tequila, and Salt-Baked Fish with Ginger Oil. From the gastronomic powerhouse that is Spain to the seafood-rich shores of fiery Peru, Garces showcases the heart of Latin cooking with dishes that are at once sophisticated and elemental.

Since opening his first restaurant, Amada, in 2005, Chef Jose Garces has emerged as an enormous talent and one of the nation’s most gifted young chefs. He has opened six additional restaurants, in both Philadelphia and Chicago; authored a stunning cookbook, Latin Evolution (Lake Isle Press, September 2008); and won the James Beard Foundation’s prestigious “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” award 2009. Most recently, Chef Garces was named winner of Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef and will appear on the upcoming season of Iron Chef America.

The Latin Road Home is Chef Garces’ passionate, personal introduction to Latin cuisine. His love of unpretentious home cooking and his superb culinary techniques are beautifully integrated in each recipe. -Chef Masaharu Morimoto

Chilango Huarache

Huarache with Chorizo, Carnitas, and Serrano Ham

Note that the masa cakes can be partially cooked, then wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

 

Serves 4

Masa Cakes:

1/2 cup Maseca brand white corn instant masa harina (see Sources)

1/4 tsp. chile de árbol powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/3 cup warm water

 

 

Toppings:

1 large potato (about 1/2 lb),

boiled in salted water, peeled, and mashed until smooth

1/2 cup crumbled Mexican chorizo  (about 1/4 lb), cooked until lightly browned and drained

1 cup Carnitas (page 279)

4 oz Oaxaca cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

16 slices Serrano ham (about 1/3 lb)

2 Tbsp. Pickled Jalapeños (page 367)

drained Microgreens, for garnish

Bottled Mexican hot sauce

 

To make the masa cakes:

Combine the masa harina, chile powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the warm water, using your hands to mix the dough until smooth and form it into a ball. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.

 

 

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or skillet over medium heat.

 

 

Divide the dough into four equal portions. Use a rolling pin or tortilla press to flatten each portion, between two sheets of plastic wrap, into a long oval 1/16- to 1/8-inch thick. Precook each masa cake on the griddle for 2 minutes per side. If not using right away, wrap the masa cakes in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days.

 

 

Place a baking stone in the oven and preheat the oven and stone to 450°F for 1 hour.

 

 

To top the masa cakes, spread each with a thin layer of potato, then top evenly with the chorizo, carnitas, and Oaxaca cheese. Bake the huaraches directly on the baking stone until the bottoms of the cakes are crispy and the cheese is melted, 6 to 8 minutes. Top each huarache with 4 slices ham and sprinkle on a few slices of pickled jalapeño and microgreens. Pass hot sauce at the table.

 

Photo by Jason Varney