Real Mexican Food - New Cooking from Mexico

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 June, 2011, 12:00am


Real Mexican Food - New Cooking from Mexico
By Fiona Dunlop

I came across this book in a roundabout way. A friend, Fuchsia Dunlop, was attending a food writer's conference when Paula Wolfert, considered an authority on the cuisines of the Mediterranean and Morocco, came up to offer praise for her books on Mexican food.

Dunlop's written books about Sichuanese and Hunanese cuisines, but never anything on Mexican food. She finally figured out Wolfert had confused her with Fiona Dunlop. I figured that if Wolfert (whose books I like) admired Fiona Dunlop's work, I should check it out.

The trouble with Mexican food is it's not well represented outside its own country. A lot of people think the cuisine consists largely of combination platters - things such as burritos, enchiladas and soft tacos: three items that should never be placed on the same plate - served with Spanish rice and refried beans. In reality, Mexican food is labour intensive and - when in the hands of a talented modern chef - can be refined and delicate. Even the traditional Mexican cuisines are not nearly as heavy and stodgy as those that are often served at bad restaurants.

Mexican food varies greatly from region to region. Yes, there are taquerias wherever you go in the country, but in coastal areas they're probably filled with seafood while in inland areas, the fillings are more meat-focused.

In this book, Dunlop gives recipes from modern chefs. Dishes include quelite (wild greens) and ricotta tacos, marinated tuna and sea bass tostadas, quesadillas with tomato sauce, Veracruz-style red snapper, and Tarascan chilli bean soup.