Wednesday, June 11, 2014
A couple of weeks ago we were thrilled when our friends from Argentina, Lucas and Sergio, were able to visit and give us the gift of an Argentine cookout. They were here in the United States to present a paper at a symposium in Chicago, so when the conference was over they journeyed just a bit more to visit us. Lucas and Sergio grill out just about every weekend when the weather is good; it's an Argentine tradition. Roy, Allison, and I took them to a huge carniceria or meat market. The grill guys were excited to find cuts of meat similar to what they were used to back in Buenos Aires and we bought 20 pounds. When we got back home, Sergio started to prepare the fire with Lucas as his assistant. No gas grills for these two! Sergio used straw and crumpled up newspaper to get logs going, which in turn got the charcoal to just the right temperature. The rule here is low and slow with the thinner cuts of meat getting done first. I can't show you one photo of a beautiful plate with all the dishes we sampled because the food eaten at an asado is served in stages as it gets done. The first course is usually grilled provoleta or provolone cheese served with bread and olives. Next comes the first meat to be done, chorizo sausages, which are served with chimichurri sauce. I love chimichurri with steak, but Argentines usually serve this cilantro/parsley mixture with the sausage. The rest of the meat is served as it gets done along with ensalada Rusa, a potato salad with peas and carrots, and grilled vegetables. We also had grilled (I used the gas grill for these - gasp!) peppers with an egg cooked inside them. Often a simple salad of lettuce, carrots, onion, and maybe tomatoes is sometimes also served. Lucas and Sergio like just a squeeze of lemon for salad dressing. We loved this relaxed style of eating and entertaining; it's conducive to great conversations and strengthening of friendships. Thank you Sergio and Lucas for sharing this with us!