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Wednesday 19 June 2019
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Latin heat

Spicy shrimp and fried plantain

COOKBOOKS are timeless, this I realised while browsing my cookbook shelf and pulled a copy of Nuevo Latino, authored by Douglas Rodriguez, it was named after his now defunct Latin restaurant in NYC. However, this book opened my eyes then to the delight that is Spanish Caribbean flavours. And also reminded me that good cookbooks are always relevant. Some are simply written before their time. I am saying this because currently Spanish Caribbean chefs are blazing trails for themselves internationally using these same worthy flavours in much the same way. Enrique Olvera is one such brilliant chef whose restaurants Puyol in Mexico City and Cosme in NYC are world rated in the top 50 restaurants.

Latin and Spanish Caribbean flavours utilise bright, hot, sour and sweet flavours from plants, herbs and fruits. Tamarind, guava, limes, peppers, hot and sweet, onions red and white, cilantro, garlic, orange, pineapples, corn, rum are just some of the indigenous flavours that form the base of this very inspiring and delicious cuisine.

So, the next time you are in the mood to cook and create, try coming out of your comfort zone and embrace some Latin and Spanish flavours.

Split roasted chicken with guava rum glaze

1 4½ lb chicken, split into two,

washed and cleaned


2 tbs red wine vinegar

4 cloves garlic minced

2 tbs fresh oregano, chopped or minced

2 tbs minced chives

1 tsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground black


2 tbs olive oil

Combine all the marinade ingredients and rub onto the chicken, taking care to get the marinade under the skin as well. Cover and refrigerate for about one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400F

Place the chicken on a baking rack and place in oven, cook for about 40 minutes until browned on both sides.

Baste chicken with guava glaze, turn and baste other side.

Do not leave too long in the oven with the glaze it will burn easily.

Guava rum glaze

1 cup guava paste

2 tbs ketchup

4 tbs white vinegar

2 tsp yellow mustard

1 tbs brown sugar

1 tbs molasses

¾ tsp cumin

¼ tsp each allspice and nutmeg

2 tsp grated onion

2 tsp minced garlic

4 tbs rum

2 tbs vegetable oil l

salt to taste

In a small sauce pan, heat vegetable oil, add onion and garlic, stir to combine, add the rest of the ingredients, cook slowly until well combined and smooth. Cook until bubbly.

Remove from heat and baste chicken. Makes about 1 cup. Refrigerate unused glaze, it would keep for up to 2 weeks. You can use this on grilled Mahi Mahi or King fish fillets or Grilled steak as well.

Crab cakes with chili lime mayonnaise

Chili Lime Mayonnaise:

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup natural unflavoured


1 red bell pepper. roasted,

seeded and pureed

1 tsp pepper sauce

2 cloves garlic ,minced

1 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice

1 ½ tsp chili powder

2 tbs chopped cilantro or

chadon beni

2 tbs finely chopped chives

Crab cakes:

1 lb crabmeat

1 tbs Dijon mustard

2 onions, finely chopped

1 tbs vegetable oil

1 tsp hot pepper sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground black


2 pimento peppers, seeded

and minced

½ cup chopped chives

2 tbs thyme

2 tbs chopped celery

2 cloves garlic minced

1 tbs lime juice

1½ cup fresh breadcrumbs

1 egg

Vegetable oil for frying

Make the mayonnaise by combining all the ingredients, refrigerate until ready for use.

Make the crab cakes:

Heat one tablespoon oil in a skillet, saute onions for about five minutes, place in a large mixing bowl and add all the other ingredients, mix well, the mixture should hold together.

If mixture seems too crumbly, add a little water to bring it together. Shape mixture into 16 to 20 patties. Heat oil in skillet, and fry patties for about 3 minutes per side until golden brown. Drain and serve with chili mayonnaise. Makes 16 -20 small crab cakes

Spicy shrimp with pounded and fried plantains (tostones), and avocado cream

For the shrimp

½ tsp ground allspice

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp chili powder

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tbs fresh lime juice

½ lbs shrimp, peeled and


Salt and freshly ground

black pepper to taste

In a bowl combine all the dried spices, add garlic, lime juice, and rum. Stir well to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Rub marinade onto shrimp, cover and refrigerate. Let marinate for about 30 minutes at most. Preheat broiler and place shrimp in a shallow glass-baking dish lightly oiled with olive oil. Broil for 3 minutes per side or until pink and slightly curled. Remove.

For the avocado cream:

½ avocado, mashed

½ tbs lime juice

1 cl garlic, minced

½ tsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp cumin

¼ small onion, minced

salt and freshly ground pepper

to taste

Puree all ingredients and

refrigerate until ready for use.

Pounded and fried plantains

2 green plantain, peeled and sliced with ways into

2 inch thick slices

Vegetable oil for frying

Heat oil in frying pan, fry plantain pieces on either side until lightly browned. remove and drain on paper towels, cool slightly. With a meat pounder lightly pound plantain pieces to about 1/4 inch thickness. Return pounded plantains to hot oil, and fry on both sides until golden brown.

Repeat for all plantain pieces. Drain and serve warm. Makes about 12

Assemble by spreading plantains with avocado cream and topping with shrimp.

Sprinkle with chadon beni before serving.

Makes 24

Wendy’s Cooking Classes

Pastels making workshop

October 6.

For more info: 357-0927

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