Garden to Grill
Francis Mallmann’s latest cookbook ‘Green Fire’ puts garden-fresh fruits and vegetables to the mercy of the flame until they’re utterly irresistible.
Beets are buried in fiery coals—a technique called rescoldo— then topped with housemade pistachio yogurt, crisp arugula, shallot vinaigrette and garlic chips. Hunks of wood-fired cabbage are stuffed with rice, wild mushrooms and slathered in sesame cream and roasted walnuts. Then there’s artichokes chargrilled to perfection with a sprinkling of sourdough breadcrumbs, toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of preserved lemon, while fungi lovers swoon over a plate of wood-fired wild mushrooms, smoked ricotta and salsa verde. “
The most important thing for us is to source the best quality ingredients and choose the correct fire technique for each one,” says Sebastián Benítez, a protégé of Mallmann’s and executive chef of Los Fuegos. Benítez employs the traditional open-fire techniques that Mallmann popularized including a cast-iron grate set over hot coals, a wood-burning oven for roasting and baking, and an eight-foot iron dome encircling a blazing fire. “Our plant-based dishes are as delicious and substantial as a steak,” notes Benítez.
“As culinary paradigms continue to shift, Los Fuegos is adapting its menu by adding more and more vegetarian-vegan options.’
The restaurant’s weekend asados are an authentic way to sample both veggie-forward dishes and buttery cuts of grassfed beef like bife de lomo, vacío,entraña and bife de chorizo, all slow-roasted atop glowing embers. It’s also a memorable way for families to spend Mother’s and Father’s Day. “Coming together for a meal is an important part of Latin American culture,” Benítez says. “We strive to make it special, especially when you’re celebrating someone you love.”