SMORGASBORD: Spanish flavor . . . Cured cukes . . . Unique blendPerhaps it was a visit to Spain that prompted you to purchase a plancha, that flat, heavy, metal griddle often used to cook tapas at so many eateries.
By: Herald Staff and Wire Reports,
Perhaps it was a visit to Spain that prompted you to purchase a plancha, that flat, heavy, metal griddle often used to cook tapas at so many eateries.
And perhaps “Plancha: 150 Great Recipes for Spanish-Style Grilling” by Liliane Otal (Surrey Books, $21) will help you expand your repertoire.
Otal, author of several cookbooks who divides her time between Spain and France, is an enthusiastic guide. “Practically anything can be cooked on the plancha,” writes Otal, of the cooking surface that delivers “intense, quick heating.” Planchas in this country are generally made of iron and designed to be heated atop a stove or grill; in Europe, they may be made of stainless steel or steel as well. (A large, flat, iron griddle should work well, too.)
The paperback’s strengths lie in Otal’s tips (“The plancha must be very hot or the food will stick to the surface.” and “Oil the surface of the plancha before heating. Do not use butter…” and “Avoid using a knife directly on the plancha” to avoid damaging the surface, etc.) and simple recipes, from marinades to meats.
Didn’t put up any pickles? No problem. Get some cured cukes from Farmer’s Garden by Vlasic. They come in kosher dill and zesty garlic, which features a spicy kick. Garlic cloves, chunks of carrots and red pepper power up its flavor.
The suggested retail price for a 1-quart jar: $5.49. Click on “contact” for a store locater at farmersgardenvlasic.com.
When Sandra Gutierrez, who grew up in Guatemala, first moved to the North Carolina Raleigh-Durham Triangle in 1985, Latin ingredients were hard to find.
There were no dried chilies, masa and banana leaves to make tamales. The former food columnist and cooking instructor had to grow her own jalapenos and go to a specialty store for dried black beans.
Since then, an influx of Latino immigrants has brought changes — tiendas (markets) across the region, aisles of Latin ingredients in mainstream grocery stores and new flavors to Southern cuisine. She saw pulled pork served with Argentine chimichurri sauce, ribs glazed with guava juice and tamales on the menu at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, N.C., a birthplace of Southern cuisine.
That fusion is the focus of Gutierrez’s first cookbook, “The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes that Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America & the American South.”
The recipes reflect that marriage from chili-cheese biscuits to peach salsa; avocado and pimiento cheese terrine to jalapeno deviled eggs; and even green bean casserole flavored with ancho chilies and Cotija, a Mexican cheese.