- Hardcover: 278 pages
- Publisher: Artisan; First Printing edition (May 12, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1579653545
- ISBN-13: 978-1579653545
- Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way Hardcover – May 12, 2009
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-The New York Times
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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. They all pretty much read the same, some good old boy is telling you how to cook meat and make some sides to go with it. Mallmann's book breaks that mold.
First, the book is as much about culture and a passion for food as it is about cooking with wood. Secondly, it is well organized and thoughtful - giving a glimpse to the experience and mastery of the author. Lastly, it is a work of art - beautiful photographs showing not only prepared food, but of the people that enjoy it and the gorgeous land that inspires it. I'm a tough critic of food and books about it, but I can honestly say I found it inspirational. It speaks to the heart first, the stomach second. Passion is the key ingredient for exceptional food.
I read the book cover to cover my first day, used the next day to strategize my cooking setup to utilize the principles and on the third and fourth days we cooked with wood. The recipes are straightforward, have small ingredient lists and turn out just as described. Day One was Pork Tenderloin with Burnt Brown Sugar, Orange Confit and Thyme. Day Two was Chicken Chimehuin (flavored with garlic, rosemary, lemon juice and lemon confit). In a word, extraordinary.
My bottom line: buy the book and be prepared to never see grilling the same way.
If you want to read about my first wood grilling experience and see pictures of the results, visit [...]
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. He also presents dishes as wide ranging as empanadas, caramelized endive in vinegar, salt crusted chicken, brook trout in crunchy potato crust, and dulce de leche flan or crepes soufflés with raspberry preserves, and hundreds more. The recipes are generally simple and easy to follow.
The photography is gorgeous. Not every finished dish is pictured, but the book is lavishly illustrated with beautiful pictures of food preparation, food presentation, and breathtaking views of the Argentine landscape.
Written with the US audience in mind, the measurements are non-metric.
This is a beautiful book. It goes far beyond a mere collection of recipes and becomes more of a cultural exploration.
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