I love creating dishes in my kitchen. I enjoy baking, sauteing, broiling and the occasional deep fry. I draw the line at grilling. The grill is foreign to me – it may as well be its own country out there on our deck. Occasionally it occurs to me that we are probably missing out on some really good foods due to my grill resistance, but then I stumble across a new bread recipe to try and the thought flies out of my head. Then Latin Grill came along and forced me to take a hard look at what I am missing out on.
Rafael Palomino is from Colombia, where grilling is part of the culture. The intended purpose of Latin Grill is to provide dishes that are full of that flair, but remain easy to prepare. Ethnic recipes can be intimidating when you are starting green, but this is a great way to wade in. I have zero experience with Latin style cooking, and I didn’t come across any terms or foods that were not well explained. I’m not saying I’m in a rush to try the Grilled Sweet Plantains, but I would definitely give the Grilled Arepas a chance.
The first chapter – Ceviches, Tortillas & Arepas – offers some great starters that are different (and very welcome!) from what I typically serve. A little wordy, but the Grilled Flour Tortillas with Goat Cheese, Peruvian Olives and Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers nearly caused me to drool right on my book. This is followed by some ingenious salads and sides, including a great looking Poor Man’s Salad (bread salad). Even the traditional Caesar Salad appears with a twist, where you lightly brush the romaine leaves with a tiny bit of olive oil and then sear them sear them on the grill for one minute. I’ll admit I’m pretty curious about that one.
You can’t have a grill book without including a chapter on big hunks of meat, and this one doesn’t disappoint. The meaty main dishes featured here are brought to life with flavorful marinades, sauces and glazes. The pork chops are far from ordinary when served with the Passion Fruit-Jalepeno Sauce, while the Grilled Skirt Steak sizzles under a coating of glaze of Basil-Garlic Olive Oil. There are many great sounding meat dishes, but it was was the Grilled Chicken Chipotle Tacos that really caught my eye – spicy strips of chicken nested in taco shells, topped with Chipotle Puree, plum tomatoes, shredded romaine and sour cream.
For me, the real gem of Latin Grill is the last chapter – Beverages. Lemonades and mojitos, sangrias and martinis. Oh, the photos! These drinks just scream summer barbecue. I feel obliged to invite a group of friends over this summer, just so that I can wow them with these Grilled Pineapple Mojitos. I need to be admired as the amazing hostess who can produce drinks like these.
Latin Grill strides to provide dishes that are easy to prepare but still chock full of flavor. It has done such an excellent job of this that I think it has achieved the near impossible – flipping through these pages makes me want to stride out onto our deck and whip that cover from our grill. This summer, I will be the envy of our neighborhood as I sip my Pomegranate and Raspberry Margarita while casually turning my Grilled Chicken Mini Brochettes!
Jen lives in Michigan with her husband and five year old son. She writes reviews of children’s book on her blog, FIRR-Kids. She enjoys trying new recipes and using her baking as an excuse to add more cookbooks to her collection.
This book was provided free of any obligation by FSB Associates. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.