Green Fire is an extraordinary vegetarian cookbook, as Mallmann brings his techniques, creativity, instinct for bold flavours, and decades of experience to the idea of cooking vegetables and fruits over live fire.
Blistered tomatoes reinvigorate a classic Caprese salad. Eggplants are buried whole in the coals—a technique called rescoldo—then dance that fine line between burned and incinerated until they yield an ineffable creaminess made irresistible with a slather of parsley, chile, and aioli. Brussels sprout leaves are scorched and served with walnuts; whole cabbages are sliced thick, grilled like steaks, and rubbed with spice for a mustard-fennel crust. Corn, fennel, artichokes, beets, squash, even beans—this is the vegetable kingdom, on fire.
The celebrated Patagonian chef, known for his mastery of flame and meat, the chef who romanced the food world with an iconic image of a whole cow dressed and splayed out over licking flames, is returning to the place where his storied career began—the garden and all its bounty. It’s his new truth: the transformation wrought by flame, coals, and smoke on a carrot or peach is nothing short of alchemy.
And just as he’s discovered that a smoky, crackling-crusted potato cooked on the plancha is as sublime as the rib-eye he used to serve it next to, Mallmann’s also inspired by another truth: we all need to cut down on consuming animals to ensure a healthier future for both people and the planet. Time to turn the fire “green.”
The fruit desserts alone confirm live fire’s ability to transform and elevate any ingredient. Mallmann roasts whole pineapples, grills grapes, chars cherries, and then finds just the right unexpected match—melted cheese, toasted hazelnuts, Campari granita—to turn each into a simple yet utterly entrancing dish.
Cooking with fire demands both simplicity and perfection. But the results are pure magic. By using this oldest of cooking techniques, you’ll discover fruits and vegetables pushed to such a peak of flavour it’s as if they’d never been truly tasted before.
Whole Roasted Pineapple with Blueberries
Fruits are so delicate and evanescent that they rarely benefit from long cooking. But pineapples—just like a rib roast—can cook for a long time. When I cook them on a dome (see page 149), I hang them for hours, but you can also cook them, as I do here. Think a young wine versus aged Burgundy: they both have their virtues, but with a different investment of time.
2 cups (475 ml) water
2 cups (400 g) sugar
1 ripe pineapple
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more if needed
3 cups (435 g) blueberries
3 cups (710 ml) vanilla ice cream
Prepare a fire for medium heat and set a grate over it. If cooking indoors, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Meanwhile, make a syrup. Pour the water into a saucepan and add the sugar. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Pour into a deep roasting pan just large enough to hold the pineapple.
Slice off the bottom and the sides of pineapple and trim out the eyes. Lay the pineapple down in the hot syrup and turn to soak all sides.
If cooking outdoors, brush the grate with oil. Lay the pineapple down on one side and grill until nicely caramelized, about 15 minutes. Pick it up with a set of tongs, dunk it in the syrup to thoroughly drench it, and return it to the grill to brown on the second side. Grill for at least an hour, dunking it in the syrup every 15 minutes and returning it to the grill until all sides are browned and the pineapple is tender. You should be able to poke a bamboo skewer all the way through when it’s done (it will put up slight resistance at the core).
If cooking indoors, lay the pineapple on its side in a second roasting pan and put it in the oven. Every 15 minutes, take it out and roll it in the syrup to baste. When it is tender all the way through and very juicy but still holding its shape, transfer it to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
To serve, divide the blueberries among six serving plates. Crush half of them with the back of a fork, leaving the rest whole, and top each portion with a scoop of ice cream. With a long serrated knife, carve the pineapple into thick rounds and stand one slice upright on its side in each serving of ice cream.
Excerpted from Green Fire by Francis Mallmann. Copyright © 2022 Francis Mallmann. Photography © 2022 William Herefold. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.