Basically, say what you will, Mallmann is a bad-ass. Not because he can cook, lots of people can claim that title, but because he took his stuffy French training and tossed it in the fires he now cooks with. Who doesn't love a non-conformist?
The pure flavors and honesty of his heritage brought Francis to where he is. If you study what he does (check out his cookbook: Seven Fires-Grilling the Argentinean Way) you will see he is a poet summoning embers in place of a pen; his potato galette a fine example. Yes, you could add all sorts of bells and whistles to this dish, but you would be missing its glory. The butter, crisp-yet tender potato, and coarse sea salt transcend a thousand languages.
What Mallmann tells us with his recipes is perhaps what our ancestors already knew: it's extremely important to treat your ingredients with reverence, to pay attention during the cooking process, and to know when to back off.
These days, emulsions and foams seem to, at times, replace the beauty of well executed, easily identified ingredients. I've never been totally comfortable with the whole gastro-science-lab trend. Give it to me the way the Good Lord wanted me to have it: still sweating, smouldering, screaming to be eaten--with my hands....with a mortar-crushed herbaceous sauce, and eaten in good company, with good drink and with plenty for all. This is my idea of bounty. Of community. Of building bridges. You have a cow.....? Lets prepare the whole damn thing and eat it together, with anyone downwind of the fragrant coals invited to join.
For recipe details and many more, reference Francis Mallmann's Seven Fires--Grilling the Argentinean Way.
You can also watch him create this dish during his guest appearance on Martha Stewart.
OR refer to his original recipe via Martha Stewart (below). I used unclarified butter, and added chopped dill along with with the course sea salt once complete (see photos following recipe).
Francis Mallmann's Patagonian Potato Galette:
Sliced potatoes arranged in pan.