Bobby Flay cooks the kind of food I like most. Some people love French cuisine with its storied history and refined technique others like comfort food with recipes that have passed down from generation to generation. I love Southwestern, Tex Mex, and Mexican food, especially when grilled. If its got avocado, jicima, chipotle, cilantro, and Chili peppers count me in. While I am not a huge fan of Bobby Flay the TV celebrity chef who has about 10 different shows on the Food Network, I am a huge fan of Bobby Flay the real chef and his cookbooks and restaurants. I have Flay’s “Grilling For Life,” his attempt at a healthier eating cookbook and it is one of my favorites. While its not a diet or low fat cookbook, it does provide options for healthier fare with the signature Flay touches (flavorful vinegarettes, spicy rubs, and fresh ingredients).
After dining at Mesa Grill in Las Vegas I was ecstatic to learn that he was releasing a Mesa Grill Cookbook. I have not been disappointed by any of the recipes and I have already worked through a handful of them. The Queso Fundido with Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette was a huge success on New Years Eve. The rich and creamy cheese “fondue” is offset by the slightly spicy and acidic vinaigrette. Blue Corn Crab Cakes, crab cakes coated with blue cornmeal and topped with a mango green onion relish and smoked red pepper sauce are an excellent version of a classic dish. Flay’s signature New Mexican Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon-Ancho Sauce, a favorite at the restaurant, turned out pretty good as well (though obviously not as good as at the actual restaurant). My favorite recipe so far has been the Ahi Tuna with a Red Tomatillo Sauce (there is no such thing as red tomatillos, the sauce is just tinted red with the spices used in the sauce). If you are sick of Ahi Tuna recipes with Asian ingredients like soy sauce and ginger (as I am) this one is truly something unique and delicious.
A few weeks ago I tried the Grilled Swordfish with Pineapple-Mustard Glaze and Cilantro-Mint Chimichurri atop some polenta spiked with jack cheese, queso fresco, green chilies, cilantro, and cumin. It was out of this world and tasted better than several fish dishes I have had at popular and highly regarded restaurants in town.
Even if you don’t want to make an entire meal this cookbook has all kinds of side dishes. At the restaurant I couldn’t get enough of the roasted corn with poblanos and cotija cheese and now I can make it at home. It even has a breakfast section.
The one thing about these recipes is that some of them are quite involved and will contain 3-4 components; the main protein, a vinaigrette or sauce of some kind, and another topping such as a salsa or relish. The good thing is that you can make some of the elements ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for a day or longer.
I cannot praise this book enough. Want to try before you buy? Check out these links for some free recipes: