Leave the packaged taco shells on the shelf, chop those chilies and ready the pots for all the simmering moles, it’s time to update your Mexican recipe repertoire! The simplest and most effective way to do this is a hefty pile of good old-fashioned cookbooks. From homemade tortillas from scratch to super-flavorful carnitas, these Mexican volumes reach into both traditional and conventional territories. Which ones will make it into your culinary library?
This book is all about tradition. From the San Francisco restaurant of the same name, Nopalito highlights Oaxacan-style horchata, potato and chorizo-stuffed gorditas and other traditional Mexican fare, alongside some American-inspired dishes like asparagus quesadillas. For extra credit, there’s a thorough how-to on making homemade masa, plus how to store and cook with it. (Here’s our interview with chef-author Gonzalo Guzmán.)
Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen by Gonzalo Guzmán and Stacy Adimando (Ten Speed Press, 2017)
You’ve heard of Tex-Mex, but have you heard of London-Mex? That’s right, a deep love of Mexican cuisine has reached across the pond! Very popular in London, Breddos Tacos sets its sights on fantastic tostadas, wraps and of course, tacos. Fresh, warm tortillas and hot salsas blend with Asian influences as evident in their vibrant fusion-friendly duck carnitas “ssam” lettuce wraps.
Breddos Tacos: The Cookbook by Nud Dudhia and Chris Whitney (Quadrille, 2017)
Pati Jinich is a PBS favorite. This book, named after her show, showcases super-easy, hearty classic recipes like pork enchiladas with mole verde and twists like Mexican matzo ball soup. Thorough headnotes spotlight different variations of dishes like moles, braises, soups and more throughout Mexico. New recipes that borrow from neighboring countries, like vegan plantain tacos, are fun to make and will delight everyone at your table.
Mexican Today: New And Rediscovered Recipes For Contemporary Kitchens by Pati Jinch (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016)
Yes, exquisite pollo and carnitas are found in this book, but you’ll also find dishes that bridge worlds, like these smoked salmon tacos with salmon roe salsa. Alex Stupak writes about finding the fine line between appreciation and appropriation in his cooking, especially at the popular New York restaurant Empellón. The book is also equipped with a recipe for making your own corn and flour tortillas from scratch — a must-have for anyone who’s serious about upping their Mexican cooking game.
Tacos: Recipes and Provocations by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman (Clarkson Potter, 2015)
This book isn’t exclusive to Mexico, but then again — neither are empanadas. What you will find here are recipes straight from Mexico, its Latin American neighbors and even a few iterations from the good ol’ US of A. Sandra A. Gutierrez is an authority on Tex-Mex and Latino food in America. Don’t believe us? Check out her exhibit at the Smithsonian.
Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America by Sandra A. Gutierrez (Harry N. Abrams, 2015)