Zarela's Veracruz: Cooking and Culture in Mexico's Tropical Melting Pot 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 061800713X
  • ISBN 13 9780618007134
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Sep 18 2001
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 352
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Publishers Text

A passionate exploration of Mexico's most approachable regional cuisine by America's leading Mexican chef, the star of a 13-part public television series airing this fall.

Veracruz, the lush strip of land bordering the Gulf, is home to the most accessible cooking in all of Mexico. There could be no better guide to this exciting region than the joyfully extroverted Zarela Martinez, chef and owner of New York's best Mexican restaurant and author of two widely acclaimed cookbooks. Now, as the tour guide and host of a nationally broadcast public television series filmed on location, she introduces the culture and food of Veracruz to a North American audience for the first time. In this major new cookbook, Zarela provides a mesmerizing travelogue and absorbing portrait of the region, with more than 200 irresistible recipes.

The cuisine of Veracruz is exceptionally inviting, even to cooks who may think they don't like Mexican food. Complex blends of difficult-to-find chiles and other spices are nearly absent. Thanks to the Spanish influences, the dishes often seem almost Mediterranean in character, with lively indigenous and Cuban notes.

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