Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen

Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen

by Gonzalo Guzman, Stacy Adimando


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Winner of the  2018 James Beard Foundation Cookbook Award in "International" category
Finalist for the 2018 International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Book Awards 

A collection of 100 recipes for regional Mexican food from the popular San Francisco restaurant.

The true spirit, roots, and flavors of regional Mexican cooking—from Puebla, Mexico City, Michoacán, the Yucatán, and beyond—come alive in this cookbook from Gonzalo Guzman, head chef at San Francisco restaurant Nopalito. Inspired by food straight from the sea and the land, Guzman transforms simple ingredients, such as masa and chiles, into bright and flavor-packed dishes.

The book includes fundamental techniques of Mexican cuisine, insights into Mexican food and culture, and favorite recipes from Nopalito such as Crispy Red Quesadillas with Braised Pork and Pork Rinds; Toasted Corn with Crema, Ground Chile, and Queso Fresco; Tamales with Red Spiced Sunflower Seed Mole; and Salsa-Dipped Griddled Chorizo and Potato Sandwiches. Capped off by recipes for cocktails, aqua frescas, paletas, churros, and flan—Nopalito is your gateway to Mexico by way of California. This is a cookbook to be read, savored, and cooked from every night.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399578281
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 04/11/2017
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 97,048
Product dimensions: 8.28(w) x 10.25(h) x 1.03(d)

About the Author

Gonzalo Guzmán was born in Veracruz, Mexico, and came to the United States as a young child. He began working at Kokkari restaurant in San Francisco as a dishwasher, but was soon promoted and went on to work his way up through the ranks at Boulevard, Chez Nous, and Nopa. In 2009, he partnered with Laurence and Allyson Jossel and Jeff Hanak to open Nopalito on Broderick Street. Guzmán is now the chef of both the original Nopalito as well as a second location on Ninth Avenue, just outside Golden Gate Park.

Stacy Adimando is a food and travel journalist, and the test kitchen director at Saveur magazine. Her work has been published by NPR, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, Forbes, and many more. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Read an Excerpt


Many of the food traditions of Mexico historically revolved around three very simple pillars: 

We ate mostly what we could grow ourselves. 

We preserved what we grew, through drying, pickling, and other techniques. 
We used all parts of everything we had access to, from the husks of the corn cobs to the fat from the animals. 

We had little choice but to eat ingredients that were in season or to eat food that was grown locally. These options were based not on values but on necessity, as it was all many of us could afford. If you look at it this way, the key ingredients and ideas of Mexican cooking will seem like mostly common sense, and they are really not hard to understand or intimidating to master. Still, introducing them into your kitchen can open up a whole new world of flavors. 

There are some cuisines that tout simplicity and integrity of ingredients as important above all else, and while Mexican ingredients may seem simplistic, what surprises many people about cooking authentic Mexican food is the intricacy, variety, and layers of flavor involved. For instance, the drying, then burning of chiles; the soaking and grinding of corn into masa; the blending of spices and herbs together to create a balanced salsa or mole—they all contribute to a nuanced and layered characteristic of the cuisine. Mexican food is, at heart, a labor-intensive style of cuisine from a hardworking people. To me, it is far too rare to see a restaurant or a home cook go the extra mile to transform simple ingredients, and that is why I felt inspired to open Nopalito—and to write this book. 

Another part of the inspiration was to offer what I think is a glimpse into the true spirit, roots, and flavors of regional Mexican cooking. In the United States there is this idea that all Mexican meals start with chips and salsa, and that everything is laden with lard or cheese and comes with a side of rice and beans. But throughout my childhood in Mexico, our tables were spread with many dishes— most of them fresh, colorful, and inspired by what came straight from the sea and the land that day. The dishes that we ate in our homes every day are alive and well in these pages. 

Pickled Vegetables Makes about 4 cups

Open the fridge of any Mexican home cook or chef, and you will find a jar or two of pickled vegetables. Traditionally, they are made with whatever vegetables are on hand, and the brine usually has a sweet-spicy quality from a combination of jalapeños and a little sugar. We call this style of chopped pickled vegetables para tacos because of their petite size—the idea is that you can spoon these pickles right on top of tacos, or eat little bites of them on the side. But they are delicious with any antojito.

11⁄2 cups carrots, halved lengthwise, then sliced into half moons
11⁄2 cups jalapeños, halved lengthwise, then sliced into half moons
11⁄2 cups small cauliflower florets (3⁄4-inch pieces)
1⁄4 white onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 11⁄2 teaspoons sugar
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic
1⁄2 teaspoon dried marjoram
3⁄4 teaspoon dried thyme
3⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, jalapeños, cauliflower, and onion; toss with the salt and let rest for 30 minutes.

In a medium pot, combine 1 cup water with the vinegar, sugar, bay leaf, garlic, marjoram, thyme, and allspice and bring to a boil.

Transfer the vegetables and salt to a 1-quart mason jar or comparable container. Pour the boiling vinegar mixture over the top and cover the jar with plastic wrap. Let cool slightly, then cover with a secure lid and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours before eating. Will keep for 2 to 4 weeks refrigerated.


Excerpted from "Nopalito"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Gonzalo Guzmán.
Excerpted by permission of Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Background and Basics: From Mexico to Your Kitchen

In the Mexican Kitchen 3

Building the Mexican Pantry 7

A Few House Recipes 31

Queso Fresco 32

Nopalito Spices 35

Crema 35

Teleras 36
Mexican Sandwich Rolls

Cemitas 38
Sesame Sandwich Rolls

Escabeche Rojo 39
Pickled Red Onions

Jalapeños Curtidos 39
Pickled Jalapeños

Curtidos “Para Tacos” 40
Pickled Vegetables

Chipotles Adobados 42
Chipotles in Adobo Sauce

Mayonnaise 43

Maiz para Pozole 43

Chorizo Oaxaqueño 44

Spiced Peanuts 45

Recommended Tools (and someextras that are nice to have) 46

Platillos Pequeños (Small Plates)

Ceviche Nayarita de Camarón 54
Shrimp Ceviche from Nayarit

Ceviche de Camarón y Cangrejo à la Mexicana 57
Shrimp and Crab Ceviche with Tomatoes, Onions, and Jalapeños

Ceviche de Pescado con Chile Guajillo 60
Halibut Ceviche with Red Chiles 

Ceviche Verde de Pescado y Calamari 61
Green Ceviche with White Fish and Calamari

Garbanzos con Chile 63
Fried Chickpeas with Chili Powder

Totopos con Chile 64
Baked Tortilla Chips Tossed with Spicy Salsa de Árbol

Guacamole 69

Queso Flameado con Chorizo y Nopales 70
Hot Oaxacan and Jack Cheese Dip with Chorizo and Cactus

Ensalada de Frutas 73
Fruit Salad with Chile and Lime

Ensalada de Nopales 74
Cactus Leaf Salad

Ensalada de Pepinos y Verdolagas 77
Cucumber and Purslane Salad

Ensalada de Lechuga con Manzana 78
Little Gem Salad with Apples and Jalapeño Vinaigrette

Esquite Tostado con Crema y Queso 81
Toasted Corn with Crema, Ground Chile, and Queso Fresco

Quesadillas con Repollo de Bruselas 82
Quesadillas with Brussels Sprouts and Cascabel Chile Oil

Quesadillas de Esparagos con Salsa de Cilantro 85
Asparagus Quesadillas with Salsa Cilantro

Quesadillas Rojas con Chicharrónes 86
Crispy Red Quesadillas with Braised Red Pork and Pork Rinds

Tacos de Cochinita 91
Marinated Shredded Pork Tacos

Tacos de Pescado al Pastor 95
Fish Tacos Marinated in Adobo

Tamales de Amarillo con Camote 96
Sweet Potato Tamales with Mole Amarillo

Tamales de Birria con Pollo 103
Tamales with Stewed Chicken

Tamales Empipianados 106
Tamales with Red Spiced Sunflower Seed Mole

Empanadas de Deshebrada de Res 108
Fried Beef Empanadas

Empanadas de Camarón 110
Fried White Shrimp Empanadas

Empanadas de Flor de Calabaza 111
Fried Empanadas with Squash Blossoms

Gorditas de Papas con Chorizo 113
Potato Gorditas with Chorizo

Huaraches de Huitlacoche y Hongos 114
Blue Corn Huaraches with “Corn Truffle” and Mushrooms

Tostadas de Picadillo 117
Ground Beef Tostadas

Tostadas de Tinga Poblana 118
Chicken Tinga Tostadas

Panuchos de Pollo 121
Black Bean–Stuffed Tortillas with Shredded Chicken

Arroz Mexicano 122
Mexican Rice 

Frijoles Pinquitos de la Olla 125
Braised Pinquito Beans

Frijoles Pinquitos Refritos 126
Refried Pinquito Beans

Frijoles Negros de la Olla 126
Braised Black Beans

Frijoles Negros Refritos 127
Refried Black Beans

Vegetales con Aceite de Chile Cascabel 128
Roasted Vegetables in Cascabel Chile Oil

Platillos Fuertes (Big Plates)

Chilaquiles Rojos con Huevos 135
Red Chilaquiles with Scrambled Eggs

Huevos de Caja 136

Frijoles Puercos con Huevos 139
Pork-Braised Butter Beans with Scrambled Eggs

Machaca de Camarón con Huevos 140
Smashed Shrimp with Eggs and Salsa

Guisado de Res de Pasilla 141
Stewed Beef with Pasilla Chiles

Caldo Tlalpeño con Pollo 143
Clear Chicken and Vegetable Soup from Tlalpeño

Pozole Rojo 144
Red Pork Soup with Hominy

Sopa de Pollo con Fideos 147
Chicken Soup with Fried Noodles

Tesmole de Mariscos 148
Spicy Seafood Soup

Birria al Res 151
Short Rib Stew

Bisteces à la Mexicana 153
Mexican-Style Stewed Steak

Carne Asada con Chorizo 155
Grilled Steak with Chorizo

Carnitas 156

Trucha Adobada en Hoja de Plátano 159
Adobo-Rubbed Trout in Banana Leaves

Tortas Pambazos 160
Salsa-Dipped, Griddled Chorizo and Potato Sandwiches

Tortas de Chilorio 163
Adobo-Braised Pork Sandwiches

Cemita Poblana de Milanesa 164
Breaded Chicken Sandwiches with Sesame Rolls

Enchiladas Rojas de Camarón 167
Red Shrimp Enchiladas

Enchiladas de Mole Poblano 170
Chicken Enchiladas with Mole Poblano

Enchiladas Vegetarianas 174
Vegetable Enchiladas with Cilantro Salsa

Enmoladas de Coloradito 177
Tortillas in Mole Coloradito with Sesame and Onion

Costillas de Puerco en Salsa Verde con Nopales 178
Stewed Pork Ribs and Cactus with Salsa Verde

Ensalada de Repollo 179
Sliced Cabbage Salad

Bebidas y Postres (Drinks & Desserts)

Horchata 184

Agua de Jamaica 186
Hibiscus and Valencia Orange Agua Fresca

Limonada de Limón y Gengibre 186
Ginger Limeade

Limonada de Limón y Fresa 187
Strawberry Limeade

Iced Café de la Olla 189
Mexican Spiced Iced Coffee

Chocolate con Chiles 190
Hot Chocolate with Chiles

Killer Bee 193

El Diablo 193

Margarita 194

Mezcal Paloma 197

Blanco Rojo 198

Mexican Coffee 198

Bloody Maria 201

Flan Napolitano 202

Churros Mexicanos 205

Polvorones 206
Mexican Wedding Cookies

Camote Enmielado 209
Candied Sweet Potatoes

Paletas de Café con Leche 210
Coffee and Milk Popsicles

Paletas de Chocolate 210
Chocolate-Cinnamon Popsicles

Paletas de Limón con Crema 213
Lime Sherbet Popsicles

Paletas de Fresas 213
Strawberry Popsicles

Paletas de Mango con Chile 213
Spicy Mango Popsicles

Nopalito Salsas

Salsa Macha 218

Salsa Cilantro 218

Habanero Salsa 221

Salsa de Morita con Tomatillo 221

Salsa de Morita 222

Salsa Frita de Árbol 222

Salsa Cruda 223

Salsa Frita de Guajillo 227

Salsa de Tomatillo y Jalapeño 227

Salsa Escabeche 228

Salsa Borracha 228

Salsa Chiltomate 230

Salsa de Serrano y Tomatillo 231

Salsa “Bufalo” 231

Salsa de Árbol 233

Salsa Guajillo 233

Pequin Hot Sauce 234


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Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Two2dogs More than 1 year ago
this is a beautiful book, I am Mexican American but only started cooking after I retired, got a late start, I wish I had paid more attention when my Mom was cooking but I didn't so took cooking classes and started to teach myself Mexican food cooking from cookbooks, this book is a gift to myself, I love this cookbook
HelgaN More than 1 year ago
NOTE: I received this book curtesy of NetGalley and Ten Speed Press in exchange for an honest review. Honestly I have never had real Mexican food before. I am not referring to the imitation taco's, nacho's served at our local franchise restaurants. I do wish that I was able to obtain the ingredients as the recipes look divine and filled to the brim with flavor. The photographs and step by step instructions make you feel as if you will be able to replicate these traditional dishes with ease.
Rosemary-Standeven More than 1 year ago
This Mexican cookbook was not quite what I expected – it was much more. It opened up a new world of tastes, ingredients and food preparation styles, with a wonderful array of recipes. The first thing that strikes you about these recipes is the quantity and variety of chillies called for. In our local shops and supermarkets, chillies just come in red, green and (for something really exotic) Scotch Bonnet. So, it was quite clear that if I wanted to make any of these recipes properly, then I would have to go to the internet. Luckily, I was able to order a variety pack of Mexican dried chillies that seemed to cover most bases. The second thing was that most of the meats were boiled, and then added to the sauces. Most recipes that I was used to, would fry or roast the meats first, then add any liquid. Despite my initial doubts, the results were very tasty and tender, so I have learned some good new techniques. The third thing you notice is, that there is no recipe for “chilli con carne” – not anywhere! For non-Mexicans, “chilli con carne” IS Mexican food. This cookbook begs to differ. Chillies in hand, meat on the boil, I began to cook. I stuck mainly to the “small plates” and discovered some mouth-watering, and for me, quite exotic, recipes. My favourites were the “Tacos de Cochinitas”, the “Tamales de Birria con Pollo” and the “Tostadas de Picadillo”. The recipes tend to be quite involved, but most are achievable with a bit of effort. We didn’t always do the full recipe as listed. Quite often we would substitute bought tortillas, tacos etc. rather than making them from scratch. We also had some of the sauces on baked potatoes or pasta, or used left-over roasted fowl instead of fresh meat – all of which worked very well. I have only tried one of the fish recipes so far: “Tacos de Pescado al Pastor” with whole sea bass, which was very good, and I am very keen to try the Ceviche recipes. There is so much in this book that is new to me, and so much more that I want to try. I would recommend it to any adventurous cook, who wants to spice up their life a bit. I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review