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Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way Hardcover

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Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way + Wood-Fired Cooking: Techniques and Recipes for the Grill, Backyard Oven, Fireplace, and Campfire
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579653545
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579653545
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Most of what's in this captivating book about cooking over wood is as straightforward as it is appealing."
-The New York Times

(The New York Times)

"Glorious...You could amuse yourself all summer long exploring Mallmann's methods. His cooking is utterly unpretentious."
-Fine Cooking
(Fine Cooking)

"[Mallmann] cooks with the elegant purity achieved only after attaining a mastery of complicated food."
(The New York Times Book Review)

"Mallmann cooks with the elegant purity achieved only after attaining a mastery of complicated food.  I craved Mallmann’s burnt flavors, from caramelized oranges with rosemary to flattened sweet potatoes charred in butter.  Bobby Flay, be very afraid." —Christine Muhlke
(The New York Times)

"[Mallmann] reconnects us to the primal simplicity and visceral pleasure of cooking over a fire."  (The New York Times Book Review)

"Argentinean chef Francis Mallmann presents a gorgeous volume detailing seven approaches to grilling.  What will keep cooks coming back, however, are rustic dishes like burnt tomatoes with fennel and mustard vinaigrette; pork chops with honey gremolata; and boneless ribeye with chimichurri.  Augmented with plenty of smoky photos, the only thing readers will lack is the smell of charcoal." *STARRED REVIEW
(Publishers Weekly)

"Seven Fires is, in its essence, a love letter to Argentina's obsession with fire and food."

From the Inside Flap

From first spark to leaping flame to last dying ember, grilling has a new frontier and Francis Mallmann is its trailblazer. He offers more than one hundred recipes, ranging from griddled mussels to a whole salmon that’s salt-roasted to juicy perfection, from beautifully burnt tomatoes to crunchy smashed potatoes and lusciously charred oranges, from a butterflied leg of lamb that cooks in just minutes to—if you can imagine—a whole cow that roasts for fourteen hours! He also shares the secret to perfect steak…every single time.

Born in Patagonia, Mallmann grew up in the Andes, in a house where everything from the heating to the hot water to the kitchen stove was sustained by ever-burning fires. As a true prodigy, he trained in the greatest French kitchens and went on to become South America’s most venerated chef. But at age forty he had an epiphany. He was, in his words, "tired of making fancy French food for wealthy customers in Buenos Aires."  In an audacious move, he abandoned the fussy fine-dining scene to return to his roots and the language he describes in his mother tongue: fire.

Mallmann calls his techniques the Seven Fires and all are represented in this book, with some extras thrown in for good measure. In glorious photographs, Mallmann illustrates technique after technique, from parrilla—which is cooking on a grill—to his boldest method, asador, in which a butterflied spring lamb or pig is fastened to an iron cross, where it cooks for hours in the glow of live coals.

A TV star in South America, Mallmann is a showman who adores cooking for a crowd—he’s served presidents, princes, and celebrities as diverse as Madonna and Francis Ford Coppola. Seven Fires is filled with food that anyone can prepare with little equipment beyond a heat source—whether it’s wood, charcoal, or gas fire. Signature dishes include Smashed Patagonian Lamb with Lemon Confit and Herbs; Salt-Baked Striped Bass; Boneless Pork Chops with Honey Gremolata; and Whole Andean Pumpkin Salad with Mint, Arugula, and Goat Cheese—as well as a surefire recipe for the perfect steak. And because we can’t always cook outdoors year-round, indoor variations are given for nearly all the recipes.

With evocative photos that showcase Mallmann’s food and the exquisite beauty of his home turf, Seven Fires will thrill grillers ready to explore the magic of fire, fine food’s next frontier. 

More About the Author

Francis Mallmann is the most famous and popular chef in South America. He has three restaurants: one in Mendoza, Argentina's wine country, another in the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires, and the third in the picturesque village of Garzon, Uruguay. USA Today and The Times of London have named his restaurants among the top ten places to eat in the world. He spends whatever free time he has in a remote cabin retreat in deep Patagonia where he cooks over live fire and writes and reads poetry.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 58 customer reviews
And the pictures are beautiful!
J. Abinanti
In the article, they made brief mention of Francis Mallmann's new book Seven Fires - Grilling the Argentine Way.
Cincinnati Hound
The recipes are generally simple and easy to follow.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

126 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Cincinnati Hound on May 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Before I describe this book, there is something you need to know about me. I am not your usual "grill guy". To the contrary, while I have grilled my entire adult life, it was a technique that I never took too seriously. I'm an excellent all around cook, so the grill was just another one of the tools in my arsenal.

However, my real passion is traditional, hardwood smoked barbecue - something that you really can't buy at a restaurant or make on a grill. It is a unique blend of art and science that is slowly being replaced by gas fired cookers that sort of flavor the meat with wood smoke rather than cooking the meat with it. If you have had the real thing, then you know the difference. Words alone will not describe it.

Because of this, the grill to me was only another tool based on inferior fuel sources. Gas versus charcoal? Who cares, there is nothing that special about the taste of either. They both allow you to keep your kitchen cool, be outside and get grill marks on your food. Sorry, I don't feel the magic.

This was my stance until a week or so ago when I caught an article in the New York Times about grilling with wood. The article really brought the whole problem I had with grilling into focus - grilling with gas or charcoal doesn't really add that much desirable flavor. But grilling with wood ......... that is something I could work with. In the article, they made brief mention of Francis Mallmann's new book Seven Fires - Grilling the Argentine Way. They baited me just enough to know that I had to have it because Memorial day was close at hand and offered the opportunity for some experimentation with wood grilling.

I have collected cookbooks for years, which includes a large section dedicated solely to (real) BBQ and grilling.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Penumbra TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Seven Fires" has to be the best Argentine cookbook available in the English language. For one thing, it's written by a native Argentine, Francis Mallmann, who also happens to be one of the world's greatest chefs. Mallmann has three restaurants of his own, two in Argentina and one in Uruguay. "The Times of London" and "USA Today" have called his restaurants among the ten best places to eat in the world.

More than just a simple cookbook, the first ten pages of "Seven Fires" include brief chapters about Mallman's background growing up in the beautiful Patagonian lake district of Bariloche, and some general material about Argentina.

There is extensive and detailed information to get you off to the right start, including a chapter on "The Ways of Fire", including how to build and light a fire, the life cycle of a fire, how hot is "hot", and things you should be aware of whether dealing with wood or charcoal. Space is given to the parrilla, which is the grill itself (yours may be a hibachi or a Weber kettle, but principles are the same); the chapa, a flat piece of cast iron set over the coals; the infiernillo technique that involves two fires and which the author poetically refers to as "a little hell"; the horno de barro (outdoor oven); the rescoldo, which is cooking in the embers, and the asador method of cooking whole animals.

Separate chapters deal with making Appetizers; Beef; Lamb, Pork & Chicken, Fish & Shellfish, Vegetables, Light Meals & Salads, Deserts, Breads, and Basics (things like sauces and tapenades). There is plenty of variety among the recipes. Sure, the author addresses cooking an entire cow - which the average reader probably won't be doing at home - but don't worry he also talks about making the perfect steak, and many other recipes for beef.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Harper on June 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You should consider this book as a quantum leap experience - not your version of the East Tuscan New Flavor Cooking Experience, etc., but something which gives you totally new insights in food preparing. After studying the book and preparing some of the presented dishes, it is for me not so much the "fire" cooking approach, which is for most people who don't have a 20 acre country property at hand (beware of the neighbors) anyway out of reach. Rather, the insightful knowledge transmitted by Francis Mallmann is his methodic approach to "burnt" food, that is, generating taste by controlled burning of food. The interesting take is here, that Mallmann uses burning techniques mainly (or only) with vegetables, but not with meat. In this respect, he advocates (correctly) meat grilling at comparably low temperatures, contrary to the typical (US) American steak house approach (huge cuts, burnt outside and left rare inside, served with mushy vegetables). Almost every aspect of the book documents that this write up entails a compilation of decades of professional experience and tinkering with food, and the recipes are very well adapted for home cooking (some upgrading in Lodge cast ironware required, although, and anybody with a professional grade exhaust system is at an advantage). I am, however, not of the opinion that the recipes are "easily" to be followed. In spite (or even because) of the simplicity of the arrangements, the home chef must have excellent execution skills to deliver. All in all, a fantastic book. Thank you, Francis Mallmann, for passing your collected wisdom on to us.
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