Zarela's Veracruz: Mexico's Simplest Cuisine by Zarela Martinez and Anne Mendelson

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Notes about this book

  • robm on February 11, 2012

    This is a great book on the cooking of a Mexican region that doesn't get much foreign tourism. The state of Veracruz takes up a good part of Mexico's eastern coastline on the Gulf of Mexico. It was the first place the Spanish landed in their conquest of Mexico, so the main city, Veracruz, is very old and still one of the country's main ports. The cooking is strongly influenced by Cuba's, but being Mexico it's spicier. With such a long coastline, seafood is a local specialty. There were sugar plantations in the lowlands, so there's also an African influence from the slaves who were imported to work the sugar fields. The interior is mountainous and the capital city, Jalapa (or Xalapa) has its own specialties. Martinez is a well-known chef and cookbook writer. Check out her other cookbooks on Mexican cuisine, including a fine book on the cooking of Oaxaca.

  • robm on July 05, 2011

    An excellent cookbook of one of Mexico's great regional cuisines. Veracruz isn't that well known by tourists, as it's on Mexico's Gulf Coast (most of the famous resorts are on the Pacific or Caribbean coasts) but it deserves to be visited more! The site where Europeans first laid eyes on Mexico, and the gateway for the Spanish conquest, Veracruz is an ancient city whose cuisine is influenced by traditional indigenous foods, but also European, Caribbean and African cooking. Great seafood recipes, being an historic port on the Gulf! It's a terrifically atmospheric city where you eat very, very well!

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Red snapper Veracruz style (Huachinango a la Veracruzana)

    • mcvl on July 28, 2012

      Wonderful dish, I've been making it for years. I give it four stars as written, five in my variation, which adds to the broth/sauce mint leaves, raisins, the tiniest touch of ground clove, and enough lime juice to brighten all the flavors without tasting sour. I serve the pickled jalapenos on the side along with some fresh jalapenos and serranos to account for differences in the flame-resistance of various people's mouths.

  • Pompano wrapped in hoja santa (Pámpano en acuyo)

    • TrishaCP on March 05, 2015

      This was my first time cooking with hoja santa, and I enjoyed it's anise-like qualities. (Reminded me of tarragon a bit.) I didn't like the jalapeños in this preparation though, because the fish and hoja santa are so delicate in flavor, the chile kind of blew those flavors away.

  • Peppered shrimp (Camarones a la pimienta)

    • TrishaCP on July 29, 2016

      This was simple and delicious. The tiny bit of mayonnaise does add a nice depth to the recipe. I only used half the chiles called for (serrano), but with their seeds as I really prefer the flavor the seeds impart.

    • nicolepellegrini on September 24, 2013

      This is a staple recipe in our house, whenever really quality shrimp and fresh peppers are available. Simple, fast and delicious. I like to use a mixture of at least three different peppers from sweet to hot for a more complex flavor.

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  • ISBN 10 0618444106
  • ISBN 13 9780618444106
  • Published Mar 17 2004
  • Format Paperback
  • Page Count 383
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Publishers Text

Running the length of Mexico's eastern coast, the state of Veracruz boasts a cuisine that is easier, lighter, and more varied than those of the country's other regions. To enjoy the food in Zarela's Veracruz - dishes like Avocado Cocktail, Garlicky Stir-Fried Shrimp, Orange-Flavored Chicken, and Romaine Lettuce with Cilantro Dressing - cooks won't need to hunt down hard-to-find chiles or master complicated techniques. With culinary roots in Spain, many of the dishes have a relaxed Mediterranean character and feature healthful combinations of chicken or seafood with vegetables, olive oil, and fresh herbs. Lavishly illustrated with color photographs, Zarela's Veracruz provides more than 150 recipes and combines travelogue with cookbook to entice readers into this unique and eclectic cuisine.

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