Paste Sensations

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How do you transform a simple piece of fresh fish into a gorgeous Yucatecan specialty?

It’s all in the magic paste, says Rick Bayless, as he takes us to the Mérida market to explore the region’s colorful, aromatic essential seasoning pastes (or recados).  These magical mounds of spice blends become the base for grilling rubs, the heart and soul of tamales, the seasoning for all kinds of food wrapped in banana leaves and the flavoring undercurrent for tangy escabeches and slow-simmered stews.

We journey from an achiote tree to the commercial grinders for the seeds to Rick’s home to understand this aromatic, alluring spice so beloved in the Yucatán.  Rick shows us how to make our own Achiote Seasoning Paste, and then use it for Short Ribs Kabik. Then we make the garlicky Recado de Bistec (Spice Paste for Meat) to use in the stunning dish of Pollo en Escabeche (Grilled Chicken in Escabeche).

The journey ends in the small Yucatán city of Maní for a bowl of pavo en relleno negro, a local specialty of turkey and stuffing flavored with the exotic jet-black paste of charred chiles.




It's a Shore Thing:  Seafood dishes that capture everything that's perfect and irresistible about a day at the beach.

Fusion Revolution: Mexican cooking might even be called the original "fusion cuisine."

Quest for Fire:  Rick can't resist the kind of well-seasoned, simple food grilled over a fire pit Mexican food is famous for.

The Capital of Hip:  Rick takes us on a dawn-to dusk culinary tour of Mexico City that separates the hip from the hype.

Eat, Drink & Be Mérida:
Fusion of Mayan traditions with Spanish influences resulted in Mérida—the "Paris of Mexico."

Fresh Chiles, Hot & Cool:
Everything about the Yucatán’s beloved habañero with its one-two punch of flavor and heat.

Yesterday, Today & Tamales:  Mexico's past is present everywhere you travel in the form of tamales.

Yucatan Snack-a-Thon:
Who wouldn't like to snack from dawn to dusk on all kinds of Yucatecan specialties?

Modern Mayan:  Mayan culture is experiencing a rebirth in the Yucatán today—in revitalized food, art and architecture.

Hacienda Renaissance: The hacienda is being reborn—as museums, as production facilities for fine rums and liqueurs, and as luxury hotels.


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