Pan-American Express

Six quick Latin sauces from a chef who draws inspiration from all around the Americas.

I grew up in Cuba with a consuming curiosity about Latin America. Then I came to Miami, met other Spanish speakers from around the world and saw that food, like language, bonded us together. It was a revelation. Like Miami, Zafra--the restaurant I opened in Hoboken, New Jersey, with Cuba-born Clara Chaumont and Uruguayan Leonardo de la Sierra--is a Latin microcosm, with dishes from all over South and Central America as well as the Hispanic Caribbean.

At Zafra we are particularly fanatical about sauces. We use classic salsas from Mexico; aromatic pebres and chimichurris from Chile, Uruguay and Argentina; puckery mojos from the Hispanic Caribbean; and creamy nut and milk sauces from the Andes. We also create our own sauces by blending ingredients from different regions in an enlightened pan-American spirit. The recipes that follow allow you to round out any dish by adjusting flavor at the table, just as people do throughout Latin America.

PUBLISHED August 2000