Fantastic Tips For Fire Cooking In Flaming June
Humans have been cooking with fire since time began. Open fire was the only way to cook for the earliest human inhabitants of Planet Earth. As time moved on and skills were perfected, fire pits and earthen ovens heated by burning logs gave new ways to create hot nutritous food from fresh ingredients gathered from the wild.
At the recent Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine, the talk of the weekend was of one very special man, who brought all the magic and deep connection of fire cooking to East Cork. Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann, who spent his childhood in Patagonia, demonstrated the art of cooking with fire at Ballymaloe Cookery School. Mallmann grew up with fire for cooking and heating the simple log cabin family home in Patagonia, where he lived from being a small child. His high level classic French cookery training and experience led to many culinary awards in his adult years as a professional chef.
But the love of cooking with fire was never far from his heart. For anyone who has Netflix, Mallmann appears in the Chef’s Table series, where he talks with depth and emotion about his life, his cooking experiences and using fire in many ways to create amazing flavours with food.
The programme shows the love this man has for the great outdoors, for fishing in the lake, roasting meat and game over an open fire, baking fresh fish encased in a clay crust in the glowing embers, for sitting in the warmth of burning logs under a moonlit sky, and generally being at one with nature. If you’re into food programmes that actually tell you something about the cook, rather than focus on recipe led content, this is one to get totally engrossed in. A fascinating insight into the ‘other life’ of Argentina’s most famous and talked about chef, who also owns and runs world class restaurants which embrace open fire cooking in a fine dining environment at the very highest of levels.
This month is often called Flaming June!
Living up to that name, the closest we’ll probably get to cooking with fire is getting the barbecue out over the bank holiday weekend! It may be humble,compared to the big frames dangling huge joints of meat over an open log fire that Mallmann knows and loves, but barbecuing can bring out the inner caveman (or woman) too!
Here are some ideas for touching your primitive side this weekend:
- Lighting a small bonfire can lend atmosphere to an outdoor barbecue feast. You can drink wine, toast marshmallows on skewers, chat and fire gaze long into the night if the weather holds up!
- Invite any of your musical guests to bring their instruments or vocal chords with them! Nothing like some live music for a real summer barbecue shindig.
- Create a glowing atmosphere outdoors with fairly lights in the trees, and tea lights, lanterns or garden candles dotted around as evening falls.
- Have plenty of rugs and blankets handy for wrapping up as the sun goes down. Nothing stops an outdoor party quicker than people getting cold and heading for the warmth of the house.
- Take your barbecue party to the beach! The lapping of the waves adds its own special atmosphere to a feast over the coals. But always remember to bring all your rubbish home and leave the beach exactly as you found it.
BUYING YOUR MEAT
A successful barbecue requires good ingredients first and foremost. Meat is generally right up there among the choices. Good steaks, ribs, chicken joints, lamb racks and cutlets and home made burgers are typical barbecue foods. Our Good Food Ireland butchers specialise in barbecue meats this time of year. Look out for excellent Irish sourced beef, lamb, chicken and pork cuts for the barbecue from these guys:
FISH ON THE BARBECUE
Fish works well cooked over charcoal. Especially if you are having a beach barbecue where you might catch your own fish first!
- If your barbecue is big enough, keep a separate section of the grill for fish. If you only have a standard barbecue, scrub the bars thoroughly between cooking meat and fish.
- Good fish to choose are mackerel, herring, sardines, small whole hake or haddock, whole trout and whole sides of salmon. You can grill whole fish straight on the bars or wrap fillets in foil parcels with herbs and other seasonings.
- Prawns are famous barbecue foods loved by the Spanish and Ozzies. Dublin Bay Prawns are in season now and cook beautifully in minutes over charcoal. All you need then is a homemade garlic mayo or aioli sauce to dip the prawns when you’ve peeled off the shells. Heaven.
- You can use a griddle pan to cook fresh scallops on the charcoal, where they will be infused by the smoke as they cook.
- Try O’Connell’s and Ballycotton Seafoods in Cork, and local fishmongers dotted around the coast of Ireland for the best and freshest catches in the country! There’s sure to be something which takes your fancy for the barbie this weekend.
We Love this funny BBQ Infographic from Heiton Buckley!