Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way

MallmannFrancis

Complete Summer Reading

Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way

by Francis Mallmann, with Peter Kaminsky
Artisan, 278 pp., $35

Chef, restaurateur, author, and culinary visionary Francis Mallmann was the keynote celebrity chef of Central Market's Passport Argentina, which featured the foods and wines of that South American cornucopia. The Patagonian native abandoned the glitzy food of fine dining and went elemental, developing recipes that use only a handful of fresh ingredients, all kissed in some way by fire and all producing big, complex flavors. The premise of Seven Fires is a return "to the methods of the frontier, of the gauchos and, before them, of the Indians." For Texan tastes, there is no sweeter smoke: food baptized by fire.

Mallmann uses seven fiery grilling and roasting methods, each adapted for the home cook (consider baking in a "pit" using an old steel wheelbarrow). All of the recipes are preceded by informative head notes; all are logical, easy to follow, and easy to prepare. You may choose to not roast a whole lamb, but the method works as well for a lamb chop. The book (winner of this year's James Beard Foundation Award for Photography) is lavishly illustrated, with the prepared food looking as seductive as the lush Argentine countryside.

My idea of a perfect meal from this book? Pork roast with peaches and rosemary, next to burnt carrots with goat cheese, parsley, arugula, and garlic chips; add some grilled corn pudding with basil, a few smashed potatoes with tapenade crust, and finish with dulce de leche dessert crepes. Seven Fires is as much about Mallmann's passion for food as it is about his respect for his culture and homeland. It's a cookbook that will inspire any cook to rethink their grill.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Argentine cooking, grilling, Francis Mallman

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