Book review: Ciudad de México by Edson Diaz-Fuentes

15 July 2021 by
Book review: Ciudad de México by Edson Diaz-Fuentes

Ciudad de México is the first book from chef Edson Diaz-Fuentes, who owns Mexican restaurant Santo Remedio in London Bridge with his wife Natalie. His passion for his home cuisine shines through in this book, from the vibrant front cover through to the final page.

The book has been designed around meals taken throughout the day, with chapters on breakfast, lunch, snacks, sundown drinks and dinner. The Mexico City native admits that breakfast is his favourite meal of the day, ever since he watched cooks roll balls of corn dough while queuing for street food of black bean sopes at the age of five. He describes how Mexicans have been serious about breakfast long before brunch became popular, and how in Mexico City it is the hardest time of day to get a table in some of the city's best restaurants.

Fittingly, the first meal to grace the pages of Ciudad de México is French toast with agave, cacao nibs and bacon, where the egg-soaked brioche is coated in cinnamon sugar. Hibiscus tamales are Diaz-Fuentes' grown-up twist on the more traditional sweet tamale flavours of strawberry and pineapple, while huevos divorciados consists of two fried eggs, one sat beneath warm salsa roja and the other underneath salsa verde, all separated (or ‘divorced') by refried beans.

Those new to Mexican cooking will find chapters covering basics including Mexican staple guacamole and mojo de ajo (confit garlic cloves), as well as a chapter on marinades, rubs and salsas, and an homage to the "fundamental pillar of Mexican food", of course, the chilli.

Those keen to get stuck into lunch and dinner will not be disappointed with tacos aplenty (ox tongue, mole and baja-style fish), while the mackerel a la talla features two different adobos (marinades): a red chilli base and a green, herbal one. And the ancho rub pot chicken alone should be enough to tempt a chef to grab a corn husk and dabble in vibrant Mexican cooking from an equally vibrant book.

Ciudad de México by Edson Diaz-Fuentes (Hardie Grant, £26)

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