Add Sizzle & Spice to Summer Barbeques with Secrets from Award-Winning Mexican Chef
Summer is in full swing. Fire up the barbecue and take your grilling game to the next level with flavors and techniques from a culture that has been cooking with fire for thousands of years. Executive Chef Sergio Zarate of Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun Resort shares his tips and tricks for raising the bar on barbecue with inspiration spanning from the ancient Mayans to the world of award-winning contemporary Mexican cuisine.
Here’s a few of his personal favorites to turn your summer party into a “parrillada!”
- Upgrade Your Burger – Before making the patties, sauté minced garlic and onion in olive oil and add it to the meat along with a finely chopped fresh basil, coarse salt and fresh ground pepper. Use a combination of charcoal and some mesquite wood chips to add a bit of smokiness.
- DIY Relish – To add a spicy tang to burgers, Zarate recommends Chiles en Escabeche which is similar to making pickles but with jalapeños, carrots and onions, oregano and a bay leaf.
- Make It A Fish Roast – Zarate looks to the Mayans when it is time to barbecue fish for their traditional Tikin Xik (pronounced “teekeen sheek”) which means “dry fish.” A whole fish, boned and butterflied, is brushed with achiote, a mixture of crushed annatto seeds and local spices, such as oregano, cumin, black pepper, garlic, bay leaves and sour orange. After marinating for two hours it’s cooked on a rack about six inches from the open flame. The full recipe can be downloaded here.
- Mexican Street Corn On The Cob – Grilled Mexican corn on the cob is also a must. Zarate recommends cooking in salt water with some epazote (wormseed) then lightly grilling it to add smokiness. Then top with a mixture of crema (sour cream) and mayonnaise, sprinkle cotija cheese, a little bit of chili pepper and some fresh lemon juice. Aged Asiago or Pecorino Romano cheese can be substituted for cotija. Pairs perfectly with a cold cerveza!
More Grilling Secrets From A Top Chef
- Tie sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary together and soak in good quality olive oil, then constantly brush the food with it to keep it moist and flavorful on the grill.
- Keep a half an onion skewered on a barbecue fork and use it to clean the grill before adding new foods to ensure flavors stay true.
About Chef Sergio Zarate
With more than twenty years experience, Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun’s Executive Chef Sergio Zarate is responsible for the property’s entire food and beverage operations, ensuring an impeccable standard of luxury quality and service. Previously, Zarate held executive chef positions at resorts throughout the region including Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Mayakoba, and collaborated at AAA Five Diamond restaurants, such as The Club Grill and Fantino at The Ritz Carlton. He also had the honor of cooking for the royal family of Bahrain as their private chef. Zarate’s technique is extremely ingredient focused and he constantly searches for new products and develops new recipes. This passion shines through his dishes, as he experiments with exciting ways to incorporate fresh and seasonal ingredients. “My motivation is always driven by creativity and in various forms. I am very fond of music, art, and nature and inspired by the senses – smell, touch, taste and color.”
ABOUT GRAND FIESTA AMERICANA CORAL BEACH CANCUN
Located on Cancun’s most secluded stretch of white sand beach, Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun Resort and Spa offers 602 all-suite ocean front accommodations, each with a private terrace facing the turquoise waters of the Caribbean and lagoon-like pool. The resort’s top two floors are dedicated to the Grand Club, which provides lavish services and above-and-beyond amenities both pool and beachside as well as a dedicated lounge and concierge service. The 40,000 square foot, sleekly-designed Gem Spa offers innovative treatments inspired by gemstone therapy and a dramatic 10-step Hydrotherapy Ritual. Perfect for the whole family to enjoy, the resort’s newest addition – Coral KidZ Club – a $2 million, 40,000 square foot innovative and interactive “high-tech playground” features an array of ground-breaking indoor and outdoor activities. Guests can choose from a variety dining outlets, including the AAA Five-Diamond Le Basilic serving French Mediterranean cuisine and La Joya, an authentic Mexican experience replete with tequila lounge. A perfect blend of serenity and activity, the resort is steps away from Cancun’s vibrant nightlife, entertainment and luxury shopping as well as the high-speed ferry to colorful and picturesque Isla Mujeres. This award-winning resort is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts. Coral Beach is a La Colección property, which is comprised of 12 distinctive Posadas hotels, the largest hotel operator in Mexico. Each La Colección hotel characterizes Mexico’s culture and are located in the best destinations in the country. For further information, please visit: www.lacoleccion.com
For more information, please visit www.coralbeachcancunresort.com or call 1-888-830-9008. Follow the resort on Twitter @grandcoralbeach and on Facebook.com/grandcoralbeach