Latin American Cuisine and Adobo Spice Rub Recipe

Along with the sheer fun of preparing our Italian meal for guests this week, we still continued our journey of exploring flavor profiles from various world regions in class.

Sadly, we are quickly approaching the end of Culinary Arts training. Sadly only in that I love it so much I could continue as a perpetual kitchen student indefinitely…  except for the net financial loss, which is an unfortunate inevitable result of school. But literally, there aren’t any other downsides. We’ve covered such a broad range of classic French techniques to this point that we’re now in the fascinating final chapters of applying those techniques to different cultures’ unique foods and spices.

So let’s explore a bit of Latin American cuisine. Seviche (or ceviche) is a preparation of raw seafood marinated in an acid mixture. Acids, such as vinegars and citrus, will coagulate proteins in seafood producing a texture that mimics that of cooking with heat. Scallop seviche… with fresh lime, onions, jalapeños, avocados, tomatoes and cilantro…

Fried yucca chips with cilantro salt and jalapeño garnish functioned as handy ‘scoopers’ for the seviche…

Escabeche is Spanish for “brine” or “pickle” and was developed in Mexico as a means of preserving foods by pickling them in vinegar mixtures. Today the technique has remained more for its flavor than for the need to preserve. Here we brined the salmon, but also grilled it and served accompanied by onions, garlic, tomatoes and jalapeños picked in cider vinegar with a hint of toasted cumin, allspice and lime.

Another classic flavor of Latin America comes from rubbing meats and game with an adobo spice blend. This simple adobo blend can be made in any quantity and stored: 15 parts powdered ancho or pasilla chiles, 2 parts salt, and 1 part each of dried oregano, ground cumin and black pepper. Two venison loins and a rack of antelope got the delicious adobo treatment…

Hope you enjoyed our little Latin excursion, and we might just venture to the Mediterranean soon. Baklava or tagine, anyone?

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