This week, we bring you a recipe for Peached Pork by South American celebrity chef Francis Mallmann. Argentina’s TV chef is the mentor of Ignacio Mattos, the chef at Il Buco, and will be cooking at the restaurant tonight with his protege to celebrate his new book, Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way. Mallmann tells us that his country is as coo-coo for TV cooks as ours is.
“There’s sort of a cooking craze all over the world right now and Argentina is no exception. We have a 24-hour food channel that airs cooking shows all day and it’s very popular,” he says. “Cooking has become an important vocation for young people throughout all of South America… I’m glad so many young people are becoming part of the food and wine industry.”
And how does grilling the Argentine way differ from good ol’ American-style BBQ?
“The main thing is time. Grilling is done more quickly [in the US]. You get the charcoals going and put the meat on and in 30 minutes, it’s ready. In Argentina, we take more time. We build a fire and we grill larger pieces of meat and it becomes an all day event. It’s very social and not as rushed.”
1 boneless pork loin roast, about 2 pounds, butterflied
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
7-8 tbsp olive oil
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 small peaches, skin on, cut in half and pitted
4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Lay the meat out on a work surface and trim off all the fat. Using a meat mallet, pound it to an even thickness of 3/4 inches.
Combine the garlic, rosemary, and 6 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small bowl. Season the pork with salt and pepper, and spread half of the garlic mixture evenly over the surface. Flip the meat, season with salt and pepper, and cover with the remaining garlic mixture.
Brush a chapa or a 12-inch square cast-iron griddle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and over medium heat, heat until a drop of water sizzles on the surface. Add the meat to the hot surface and cook until it is well browned and crusty on the first side, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, arrange the peaches around the meat, cut side down. Dot the butter around and in between the peaches and let them cook until nicely charred on the cut side and slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter, and cover to keep warm.
When the meat is well browned on the first side, turn and cook on the other side, adding another tablespoon of olive oil if needed, for about 7 minutes, or until done to taste. Transfer the meat to a carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 3 minutes. Slice the meat and serve the peaches alongside.