Latin flavors on the grill

14 May 2003 by
Latin flavors on the grill
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This will be the third book by Douglas Rodriguez that I have read, previous ones being *Nuevo Latino* and *Latin Ladles*. Rodriguez is a first-generation Cuban-American, who was brought up on Manhattan's Upper West Side and is regarded as the godfather of Nuevo Latino cuisine. This type of cuisine takes in the diverse flavours and ingredients of all the Latin American countries, including Cuba, and mixes them up with some more modern international ingredients and techniques. Rodriguez began his career in Miami, working in and around the hotel scene, before getting his big break at the Wet Paint Caf‚. He then made the move to the highly successful Yuca, where the Nuevo Latino movement is believed to have begun. Rodriguez soon became a partner, and then decided to take on his native New York by opening the Patria restaurant, following on with Aquarela in Puerto Rico and Chicama in Manhattan. *Latin Flavors on the Grill* is a book about simplicity. The method of cooking is relatively simple to master; the complexities lie within the marinades, mojos (pronounced "moho") and rubs that give each dish its character. Rodriguez has put together a book with food that he feels can be produced easily and quickly on an open grill or barbecue. In reality, a lot of the ingredients in the book would be difficult to source in this country, although not impossible. Difficulties could arise for the home cook who doesn't have the access to ingredients that we do in the industry, but with a bit of ingenuity they could be replaced with alternatives. He starts the book by explaining what tools are needed, what the main rubs and marinades are, and the principles of grilling. He regularly comes out with classic phrases which I long to use at my gaff, such as: "Keep your eyes on the prize," and: "Grilling is not a part-time gig - stay with it." Never were truer words said. The dishes to catch my eye were tuna with mango-ginger-lime mojo, mussels in banana leaves, strip steak with horseradish-parsley mojo, double chocolate coconut s'mores, and a passion fruit trifle, which looks to-die-for. Also included in the book are some great drinks, my favourite being the caipirinha (a classic cocktail of lime and cachaça), and some very good non-alcoholic ones as well. Overall, this is a well-thought-out book, giving great recipes and ideas based on rubs, marinades and mojos that can be quite easily adapted to anything on the grill. Being a weekend warrior on the barbecue myself, I shall be using this book all summer. By Stephen Carter, head chef, Che Bar and Grill, London *Latin Flavors On The Grill Douglas Rodriguez $35, Ten Speed Press (Tel: 00 1 510 559 1600, Web:* [*www.tenspeed.com**) ISBN 1-58008-055-3*
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