An Argentine Dinner with Seven Fires

My friend Priscilla is originally from Argentina. She knows how much I love to cook, and particularly all kinds of great ethnic foods from around the world. And as you have seen, we love to cook together too. So for my birthday, she gave me this fabulous new Argentine cookbook.

I was dying to try some of the mouthwatering recipes featured in this beautiful book, and I thought what better time to initiate it than when we have company over. After our busy day of touring around and taking in the sights of the southern Denver Metro area, A Very Busy Day, I cooked us all a delicious Argentine style dinner, using this fabulous cookbook as my guide.

Argentina is known for its great meats, and they love to grill everything up on open fires. The book “The Seven Fires” by Francis Mallman, explains the seven different “fires” used in Argentine cooking. They are:

  • Parrilla – cooking meat over an open wood fire or grilling.
  • Chapa – a method for quick cooking or searing to produce a crust without drying the meats out.
  • Infiernillo – small inferno or little heat, usually with two heat sources, one from above and one from below.
  • Horno de barro – cooking in a wood oven at the back of the oven.
  • Rescoldo – cooking directly on hot hot embers
  • Asador – cooking large, whole pieces of meat on an open spit.
  • Caldero – cooking in a big iron pot or calderon.

Well since I do not have the capacities to do prepare foods in most of these traditional ways, I improvised, as any home cook would do. I grilled the steaks Parillo style, on the grill. Everything else I cooked on the stove, either Parillo or Chappa style, with my mini indoor grill, or Caldero style, with my cast iron skillet or Horno de barro style, in the oven. Who knew we all cooked in the Argentine way almost everyday? πŸ™‚

Our menu for the evening was Steak Chimichurri, Steak Chimichurri, roasted potatoes, empanadas (due to lack of time, I purchased them from Rincon in Boulder, Empanadas de Rincon Argentino rather than making them myself), and a roasted vegetable salad with roasted peppers and asparagus, with some warmed bread and dipping sauces on the side. Priscilla brought a delicious ricotta genoise cake with strawberries tossed in Cara-Cara orange balsamic vinegar.

At some point, you have experienced my other Argentine flavors I prepared for this meal, but this particular salad is new to all of us. It is full of flavor and loaded with a lot of different layers and textures too.

Roasted Vegetable Salad

1 lb roasted asparagus

1/4 cup olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

4 roasted bell peppers – I used 2 red, 1 orange and 1 yellow, peeled and seeded

mixed greens

The Dressing

3 hard boiled eggs, diced

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1 TBSP Dijon mustard

1 TBSP crushed peppercorns

dash of salt

1/2 cup red onion, diced fine

1/2 cup parsley, chopped fine

toasted bread crumbs

Toss all the ingredients together well. The dressing is meant to be chunky and full of texture.

Roast the peppers directly on the fire, or Rescoldo style.

Coat the asparagus in the olive oil and salt and pepper, and place on a hot grill.

Grill the asparagus for a few minutes, or until it is softened and slightly charred. Then remove from the heat and set aside. I prefer the smaller asparagus spears to the larger ones. I think they are more tender and have more flavor.

Once everything is cooked and the dressing is made, lay a bed of mixed greens on a platter, then decoratively add the peppers and asparagus on the platter. Next, drizzle the dressing on top, and add the hard boiled eggs. Finish it all off with the toasted bread crumbs. I used some leftover crostini that I crushed up. The finished product was a gorgeous, delicious salad that was a treat for our taste buds. !Delicioso!

Make the most out of everyday, and spend time doing things with those you love and those who make you happy. Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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