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Mallmann on Fire: 100 Inspired Recipes to Grill Anytime, Anywhere

Mallmann on Fire: 100 Inspired Recipes to Grill Anytime, Anywhere

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Mallmann on Fire: 100 Inspired Recipes to Grill Anytime, Anywhere

4/5 (2 peringkat)
464 pages
3 hours
Sep 23, 2014


Featured on the Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table

“Elemental, fundamental, and delicious” is how Anthony Bourdain describes the trailblazing live-fire cooking of Francis Mallmann. The New York Times called Mallmann’s first book, Seven Fires, “captivating” and “inspiring.” And now, in Mallmann on Fire, the passionate master of the Argentine grill takes us grilling in magical places—in winter’s snow, on mountaintops, on the beach, on the crowded streets of Manhattan, on a deserted island in Patagonia, in Paris, Brooklyn, Bolinas, Brazil—each locale inspiring new discoveries as revealed in 100 recipes for meals both intimate and outsized. We encounter legs of lamb and chicken hung from strings, coal-roasted delicata squash, roasted herbs, a parrillada of many fish, and all sorts of griddled and charred meats, vegetables, and fruits, plus rustic desserts cooked on the chapa and baked in wood-fired ovens. At every stop along the way there is something delicious to eat and a lesson to be learned about slowing down and enjoying the process, not just the result.

Sep 23, 2014

Tentang penulis

Francis Mallmann, author of Seven Fires and Mallmann on Fire, is the reigning star of food television in the Spanish-speaking world, and the most famous and popular chef in South America. His restaurants include Siete Fuegos at the Vines Resort & Spa in Argentina’s wine country; Patagonia Sur in Buenos Aires; El Garzón in Uruguay; 1884 Restaurante in Mendoza, Argentina (named one of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants); and Los Fuegos in Miami. USA Today and the Times (London) have named his restaurants among the top 10 places to eat in the world. Most recently, Mallmann was the subject of the Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table.

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  • My advice to you: turn the off television and go outside.

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Mallmann on Fire - Francis Mallmann



with Peter Kaminsky and Donna Gelb


Get Up and Get Out

Some years ago, it struck me how settled in our ways we have all become. Our evenings take us from the office to the couch, from the couch to the kitchen, from the kitchen to the easy chair by the television, and from the easy chair to bed. I realized that for most people, the mere thought of grabbing a basket packed with a picnic and thinking of an outdoor space to enjoy was just that . . . only a thought.

So I decided to make a TV show to prompt them out into the wild. It would be based on the simplest recipes, requiring barely any equipment. I began the first show by putting on my favorite tweed jacket, a hat, and some walking boots. I put a potato in my left pocket and a tin cup with two eggs in my right pocket, along with a metal spoon, salt, pepper, and a chunk of butter wrapped in paper. I held an onion in my hand and, instead of an Hermès handkerchief, I stuck a handful of fresh parsley in the top pocket of my jacket.

Then I walked into the hills until I got to a nice stream, where I started piling up fallen branches to start my fire. From the streambed, I selected a large, flat gray stone with a slight hollow in the middle, just like a soup plate. I still remember looking through the clear running water, searching for just the right stone. How many years had this one been there, I wondered. Maybe it had been tossed up by a volcano and then worn smooth by the caress of snowmelt.

I propped up my cooking stone on two rocks set on either side of the fire and let it warm up. Stones, especially those from a stream, must be heated very slowly for cooking to prevent them from cracking or bursting apart, as any water trapped within turns to steam, eager to escape.

I took the small outdoorsman’s knife that always hangs from my belt on my country walks, set the onion on my knee, and chopped it, dampening my jeans in the process. I tossed the diced onions in butter, which I’d melted in the bowl of the stone. I cut the potato into thin round slices and added them to the onion. After about forty minutes of sizzling, they were cooked to tenderness. That was the moment to crack the eggs and fold them in with my spoon. I tore the parsley apart and threw it in as well. Salt, pepper, and an extra pat of butter finished my lunch, with some chilled water from the stream served in my tin cup. Using a nearby log as table and chair, I thoroughly enjoyed the lunch that launched seven seasons of cooking on TV.

My advice to you: turn off the television and go outside.







Appetizers and Salads



Light Meals



Beef, Lamb, and Pork






Fish and Shellfish

Vegetables and Beans





Country Breads









Francis Mallmann views food as he does almost everything else, as an aesthetic expression. So, yes, the dining is unforgettable, but to this native of Patagonia, food is the melody in a larger symphony of pleasure. Almost as important are the setting, the plates, the linens, the scenery, the music, and the books that he sometimes uses instead of place cards (this morning, my table on the patio of his small hotel in the village of Garzón was reserved with a volume of Rilke’s poetry).

As I reflect on my twenty years in Mallmann Land—which my wife refers to as The Realm of the Senses—I’m sitting on a green hill overlooking a broad valley: a vista of forests, fields, vineyards, and olive groves. The warm breeze rising off the valley floor is soft and sweet.

Around my perch, a platoon of workers has been deployed—some with bright head scarves and tattoos that would not look out of place on a pirate frigate. They lug enormous iron implements and place them along the ridge. The shapes and rusty orange color call to mind the sculptures of Richard Serra.

This iron, though, is an expression of a different art—wood-fired cooking. There is a huge cauldron that will be filled with lard for frying empanadas stuffed with fatty beef, olives, and eggs, in the style of Salta, in the north of Argentina. It was in this province—peopled by Incas and the descendants of Canary Islanders—that Francis, in his twenties, first encountered the seven fires that would redefine the oeuvre of this classically trained chef and lead him to devote his career to restoring wood-fired cooking to a place of honor in the world of big-league cuisine.

In addition to the cauldron, there is a huge chapa, or plancha, that takes eight people to muscle into position. To its left, several men carry a parrilla unlike any barbecue grate I have ever seen. It looks like an old iron box spring as seen in a fun-house mirror, higher on one end and sloping down to shorter legs. Also, as at many of Francis’s big productions, there is an infiernillo—literal translation, little hell—an Inca-inspired device of his own invention where a tray with a salt-crusted whole fish is sandwiched between two cast-iron platforms, each with its own roaring fire. In full blaze, it conjures up a brace of funeral pyres for a couple of fallen Vikings.

Farther up the hill, a ring of iron—four inches thick and five feet in diameter—is muscled into place. It is not a complete circle: one end is open so that the radiant heat of a bonfire can slowly cook two lambs that are placed on iron crosses about six feet from the circle of fire.

Overlooking all this iron, there are three wooden platforms of weathered timber. Tall pieces of lumber reach up from the corners of each platform, like the bedposts of a canopy bed. They serve no apparent purpose other than to mark off a space that, while it is completely open to the air, somehow feels enclosed.

Francis, in tattered jeans, white shirt with sleeves partly rolled, and sunglasses, sits at one of the tables, displaying a wide smile.

Looking again at the assemblage of wood and iron in the last rays of sunlight, I reflect that an archaeologist might be excused for thinking that he had come upon the ceremonial precinct of a past civilization.

We inch our way down the dirt road that leads back to town, a few miles away. Francis slows his four-wheel drive, ceding the right of way to a small viper retreating from the road. She lives here, he says. She’s doing no harm. Then he cranks up the volume on the sound system to a thumping rock-and-roll level.

When we return the next day, the crew is busy preparing dinner for twenty, a modest size by Mallmann standards (I once assisted him on a phalanx of infiernillos as we baked nine huge salmon to feed three hundred people). On the chapas, smashed potatoes, basted in butter, crust over: as crunchy as a handful of potato chips on the outside and creamy within. The two iron crosses, now bearing trussed lambs, are angled away from the roaring fire. I can’t help but think, just for a moment, that this is Calvary for the lambs, but as soon as I get a whiff of the meat, I banish my gray thought. I walk over to the box spring, where four whole rib eyes are cooking, but when I put my hand out to gauge the heat, there is none. Well, almost none.

I cook them for nine hours at the lowest heat, Francis explains. Maybe 120 degrees. The meat will be rosy red all the way through . . . and juicy, but with a good crust.

Yesterday’s band of stevedores now looks a little less like Jack Sparrow’s crewmates, in their cook’s uniforms: white aprons with a few colorful and delicate stripes running down the midline. The same pattern marks the white cloths that cover the dining tables set up on the wooden platforms. Both are designed by Francis; cloth, in all colors and patterns, is central to his aesthetic. In his constant travels, he shops for beautiful textiles. He keeps warehouses full of them wherever he works, using some for pillows, as throws over couches and chairs, as table coverings: damask from Syria, batik from Indonesia, antique bed linens from Belgian monasteries, vicuna shawls from the markets of San Telmo in Buenos Aires. He uses textiles to paint the scene whenever he creates an event, and every meal is an event. At this one, though, nature provides most of the color. The man-made accents are stark and chaste, a way to define a space that brings some—but not too much—order into nature.

The long refectory tables, oversize linen napkins, and long-stemmed wineglasses glinting in the sun provide a counterpoint to the rustic cookery. Francis celebrates contrast—between the raw and the burnt, between unruly nature and refined artifice. It is a tension that he always plays upon and that rarely fails to seduce his guests.

He welcomes tonight’s group with cocktails made with limes and cachaça, the Brazilian distillate of sugarcane that packs a moonshine wallop. The guests bite into their empanadas, inevitably slurping the innards (there is no decorous way to eat one: you just commit and pray that you don’t stain your shirt). Francis, now in a chef’s coat, glides among them. He projects reserved friendliness. He is not a glad-hander. All his extroversion goes into making the moment—art-directing it as much as cheffing it.

He prods the beef, slices off a piece of lamb, and tastes it. If someone approaches and asks a question about the cooking method, he answers as he goes about checking the doneness of the food. He needs no digital probes, no knives to cut into the meat. He can tell by feel.

The party is seated, their platters heaped. No one, I think, can be expected to eat this much, but somehow they do. They are enraptured by the place, the aroma, the elegance of it all. The conversation sounds as mirthful and light as the tinkle of the wine goblets. Francis delivers a welcome speech and a toast. I want to say a champagne toast, because it seems like a champagne moment, but I can’t recall Francis ever drinking champagne. He is a man of very particular tastes.

His work done, he slips away from the diners and joins me on a bench. The sun has dipped below the hills, but the sky is still gold, with a blush of pink. He requests a favorite Van Morrison track on my iPhone—the haunting On Hyndford Street. Take me back, take me way, way, way back, Morrison sings. Francis listens intently. His gaze turns inward. He wraps his old camel-hair sweater (from Lisbon, 1992) around him against the evening chill. The sound of a chorus of birds, nature’s evensong, ripples across the valley.

The party is seated, the guests’ platters heaped. No one, I think, can be expected to eat this much, but somehow they do.


I am an Argentine, with an Uruguayan mother, and descended from European immigrants. I have lived in Illinois and California, on Long Island, and in Paris and Italy. All of those places are part of me, but I still see myself as a son of one of the last remote corners of the planet: Patagonia, bordered on the west by the snowcapped peaks of the Andes, glimmering glaciers, slumbering volcanoes, and hundreds of lakes and rivers, which flow east into grassy pampas and deserts and then to the windswept shores of the southern Atlantic Ocean. Patagonia, where the mainland tapers like an arrowhead until it ends at the Straits of Magellan; just across those straits is Tierra del Fuego, the Land of Fire.

Patagonia is an immense and beautiful land. Mountains, deserts, and coast: we have them all. Of the three, I would say my heart is in the mountains and their lakes. It’s where I was raised, in the town of Bariloche—now a glamorous tourist destination, but in my childhood, a much smaller mountain town. I understand the winds there, the sun, the storms, the clouds. Because I grew up there, I can read the language of its geography. One glance to the west, where the storms come from, and I know what tomorrow will bring.

Bariloche has changed since my brother, Carlos, and I tramped up and down the hillsides, picking calafate berries. Legend says that once you have eaten calafate, you will always return to Patagonia. In my case, the legend holds true. But although Bariloche is still beautiful, boutiques and expensive homes and tourists from Brazil, North America, and Europe have changed the character of my rugged hometown. It feels more like a part of the modern world and less like a frontier village.

I have always wanted to go beyond the frontier, and whenever I do get there, I can hear silence. By that I mean I am very conscious of the Indians who once lived here. Mapuches, Tehuelches, Onas—there are still a few there in the most hidden parts of Patagonia, but I hear their spirit everywhere.

The Indians are the ones who first brought fire to this land. In my native region, I learned from the Mapuches, who still cook by burying their feasts, surrounded by hot rocks, a rustic style of communal cooking called curanto. They cooked whole llamas this way and Patagonian ostriches. The Incas, in the hot arid lands that border the Atacama Desert (where astronomers say the air is the clearest of any place on earth), built double-decker fires, separated by flat stones. That technique became the basis for my infiernillo. From the Charrúas Indians of the semitropical area we call the Littoral, I learned to cook on wooden stakes at the side of a campfire.

When the Indians left, pushed out by the Europeans, the gauchos, our cowboys, with their blousy pants and fearsome daggers that left knife scars as a testament of manhood, perfected the parrilla: cooking on grates over live coals. I have spent many nights camping in the wild with my makeshift parrilla. Finally, the bricklayers and carpenters and dockworkers of Buenos Aires taught me the simplest method of all: cooking on a chapa. For them, it was often simply a piece of sheet metal thrown over a fire. The makeshift griddle heated up quickly, so they could cook their sausages and churrasco steaks during the precious minutes of their lunch hour. You will see my version of chapa cooking throughout this book.

It was from the traditions of those Indians and cowboys, carpenters, and stevedores that I learned to take all that I had learned in the temples of European gastronomy as a young chef and simplify and adapt it to cooking with fire. The knowledge I gained in France and Italy about building flavor and working with the best ingredients, about sautéing, and about baking stood me in good stead as I traveled around Argentina experimenting with fire. I have always felt the lure of travel, absorbing influences wherever I go. In time, I began to bring my fires with me.

I went to bustling New York and elegant Paris, to the ineffably beautiful coast of Northern California, to my own farm in the green hills of Uruguay, and to the wild coast of Patagonia in the province of Chubut, where improbably graceful right whales still come to mate each year, and where sea lions congregate on the shore, giving lusty voice to their basso chorus.

And as I traveled, I left myself open to the seasons and the memories and the ingredients that were as surely a part of my baggage as my shirts and blue jeans. When you travel, you cook with what is there, not with what you want to be there. That forces you to think and create. In the course of my travels for this book, I began to experiment more and more. I fell in love with the idea of charring and burning the herbs and greens that I use for salads, marinades, and dressings (see page 122). In Peter Kaminsky’s backyard in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, I took the idea of the Argentine asado—a beef extravaganza—and created a parade of pork (see page 116). A trip to Northern California introduced me to the caramel-sweet delicata squash (see page 112). Some herb oils left overnight in the fridge suggested the array of chilled flavored oils that now replace herb butter on many of my grilled dishes (see page 281). Throughout my travels, I found myself encountering new challenges and new ideas that became new recipes.

A passionate encounter between wanderlust and cooking is what this book is all about. But then, that is what my life has always been about—love, wandering the world, and making food. It is who I am. Maybe someday I will build a restaurant on the Brooklyn waterfront, or on wild Bolinas Bay, or in some Parisian back alley. I still feel as

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  • (4/5)
    this was a lovely book to boost a gardener's spirit. it would be a nice gift for anyone who's starting a garden or moving into a new house, because each chapter has handy and practical tips.
  • (4/5)
    Were I to have to choose one book about gardening to give to an enthusiastic novice, this might be it. Stewart's voice is fresh and charming, and her account of struggles, triumphs, and finally, letting go of a loved place, ring true. The tips and references she offers are also good starting points when facing practical problems like amending soil or pruning roses.