I recently got my hands on the renowned Argentine chef Francis Mallmann’s new cookbook, Mallmann on Fire, which is all about… cooking over fire. Wherever you happen to be in the world, with whatever materials you might have handy. This guy’s open-flame chops, while a bit daunting, will make you feel like you can make anything anywhere. Who needs a fancy grill when there are dirt, rocks, branches nearby? In one particularly brazen-looking method, he hangs a half dozen legs of lamb by butcher’s twine from a high-hanging branch of a big tree. Mallmann offers simple-enough recipes for every type of landscape you can think of, from a balcony in Brooklyn to the remote Patagonia mountains. His cooking-by-fire bible would certainly have come in handy when we stayed at Villa Pizzorusso — a masseria in Puglia with a 500-year-old stone oven. We spent five hours getting the temperature just right, only to discover at 10pm that we didn’t have flour and every last local market was long-closed. The whole affair– involving an embarrassing last-ditch attempt with packaged muffin mix — ended very badly.
We’re already planning our outdoor cooking oven at the farmhouse. In the meantime, a few other places to put Mallmann’s techniques to good use:
>>I’ve stayed here a handful of times and can attest: the outdoor oven works as good as it looks. // Casa Ninamu (above)
>>At this sweet country b&b in British Columbia, the handmade outdoor oven is inspiration for the one going in at the farmhouse.
>>Love the fire pit next to the outdoor dining table at this farmhouse, but there’s also a fantastic outdoor kitchen with a grill closer to the house.
>>And if you’re not ready to experiment, you can feast on Mallmann’s specialities at the source, where meat and vegetables are cooked according to an old Andean technique called infiernillo, which translates to little hell.