Are you the kind of cook that makes everything just a little too dark and crispy? We’ve got good news for you: burnt is IN. Seriously. Just ask famous Argentine chef Francis Mallmann, renowned for his beautifully burnt everything. Now, that doesn’t mean you should start blackening everything in your kitchen - there is a right way to burn your food. To kick off BBQ season, let’s dive into the genius mind of open-fire master, Chef Mallmann.

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Chef Mallmann’s story

Chef Mallmann isn’t your everyday celebrity chef; he’s chosen a rugged fire over a premium state-of-the-art kitchen, ditched high-end cuisine for a good old grilled steak, and traded in opportunities at world-famous French restaurants for the remote Patagonian outdoors. He’s a true Argentine gaucho: rugged, one with his land, and master of fire, air, smoke, and meat

While he studied and worked in France for over two years alongside some of Paris’ top chefs, he quickly became bored by pretentious haute cuisine. He went back to Argentina and his roots: fire and “burnt” meat. Chef Mallmann now resides on a secluded, remote island in Patagonia while managing his 9 restaurants around the globe from afar

How to burn your food the right way

There is a fine line between burnt and a good burn, says Mallmann. It takes nurturing and close attention. The classic Argentine way to “burn” meat is on a chapa, or cast iron slab over an open fire. But don’t worry - you don’t need to run out and buy a chapa! Mallmann suggests trying your burn with a good cast-iron pan over a high heat for comparable results. For your first time, do a test-run with a small cut of pork. Watch as its edges change color, and remove it when it’s just right: deep, dark brown and charred (not black!) on the outside, and moist and juicy on the inside. 

Source: NY Times

Here are some key points to remember:

Don’t move it around: Once on the pan, don’t torture the poor thing! Let it sit there still until you’re ready to flip it. Resist the urge to poke it with your tongs or move it around on the pan.
Don’t fret, let it sweat: Trying to flip it but it’s sticking to the pan? That means it’s not ready. When your meat or veggies are ready to be flipped, they’ll release juice that says “okay, flip me.”
Lightly oil: Keep your pan dry so it reaches max heat, just coating your meat or veggie with a light layer of oil (we recommend you La Española Classic Olive Oil)

Source: Washington Post

Foods to burn

Okay, now that you know how to char, it’s time to decide what foods to throw on the fire. Really, the possibilities are limitless! Of course, Chef Mallmann will tell you red meat first. Or any meat, for that matter. Another one of his favorites are peaches, which release natural sugars that caramelize beautifully. Get creative with your fruits and vegetables - pretty much anything is better with a burn.

What foods will you burn this summer?