Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way


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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Francis Mallman
No bull: John Bullington roasted a 550-pound steer last week for Fantastic Fest's closing night party

Virginia B. Wood, Oct. 8, 2010

More Food Reviews
The 31st Annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival - FAQs
The 31st Annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival - FAQs
presented by Capital Metro, with special thanks to Big Swig & Hard Swig

Sept. 10, 2021

A Father's Day Roundup of Lagers That Dads Like
A Father's Day Roundup of Lagers That Dads Like
Beermongers weigh in on what wets their most dadly whistles

Eric Puga, June 18, 2021

More by Mick Vann
Guantanamera Cuban Cuisine
Guantanamera Cuban Cuisine
Good things come in small packages

May 8, 2015

On the Cheap: Taquito Aviles
Taquito Aviles
Getting our goat on Braker

Feb. 20, 2015


Argentine cooking, grilling, Francis Mallman

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle