You say Asado……………

Taming the fire for some long burning coals

After many changes in direction and detail, the day of the Asador came.  It all started like this.  My friend Paul Foxx, who  worked for me at Le Bosquet in Crested Butte, was coming out from San Francisco and wanted to take some classes at my school. Based on a picture of him on Facebook roasting a whole lamb over an open fire in the Argentinean style known as Asador, I suggested it might be more fun for us to put on the same thing here in Colorado.

I thought I would try to sell it as a special class and as a way to bring attention to our new Global Grill Series that we are featuring this summer.  I had visions of a well attended class that would then drift into a well attended event that would grab the attention of local media etc. I tried to market it to our clientele at the Kitchen Table and did not even get a nibble.  I regretfully decided to throw in the towel, put up the white flag and bow out of the race.

However, one of my chef instructors and former students is from Argentina and she was really looking forward to the event. I was too.  So we decided to resurrect the event and see if we could sell it to our friends and make the event happen for our own education.  Paul Foxx, had already sent out the cross, Alex Seidel (Chef and owner of Restaurant Fruition and Fruition Farms) had a lamb all ready to go for slaughter and we had enough like minded friends to help us out.

We had plenty of other worries about the day. Would the weather cooperate? Would the local Fire Department let us burn?

The day turned out to be a glorious, low wind, hardly a cloud in the sky 88 degree day.  Fruition Farms is hardly right around the corner from my home or my school.  I arrived a little late from our original scheduled time.  There were a couple of people there and we set up our site.

I had made 3 previous calls to the Franktown Fire Department and was told I could call the day of and we would be OK.  Paul started the fire as I called the FD and they told me they needed to get someone out there to determine if we could burn and issue me a permit.  “Don’t start the fire until they get there” Jane from the Franktown FD told me.  “OK” I replied as I was watching the flames take off.  They took forever to get to the site and I was worried they would shut us down. They were annoyed that we had already started, but when they saw that we had taken adequate precautions and were not planning a bonfire they gave us the OK and we got down to business. The fire chief was wondering if we were doing a pig roast and lost interest when he heard it was lamb.

Bringing the lamb to put on the cross

We hacked off the head of the lamb and removed any organs the processing plant had left in. I cleavered the chest open and we stretched the rib cage open so we could attach it to the cross.  Paul wrapped wire around each leg and punctured the chest to rap wire around the frame.

Tying down the lamb

Organs

We got the lamb going and then started on the other tasks that complimented the meal. We created large batches of the classic sauces for an Asado: Chimichurri, Criolla and Provencal.  We got some of the participants involved and struggled to keep parsley from flying off the cutting board.

Prepping the goods

Josh (who tends the farm, has a sprout company and grows vegetables for the restaurant) had picked some potatoes, turnips, baby leeks, arugula, radishes and chicory for us to use.

Josh the farmer

We assembled some enpanadas, which Patricia had intended to deep fry in lard over the fire.

Enpanada ready for frying

Patricia had also prepared some fresh chorizo sausages which we grilled, stuffed in crispy french baguette, smothered with Chimichurri and devoured as everyone was quickly needing sustenance to go with the wine.

Chorizo on the grill

We grilled off the head and organs, which are a crucial part of any Asado.  We sliced them and served them with the salsa Provencal. They were met with little enthusiasm by some and devoured by others (including brains and eyes).  The tongue and cheeks of the head were exceptional.  Patricia had also brought some Morcilla (Blood Sausage that she had made) which the Argentine contingency were particularly excited about.

There was a lull while we waited for the lamb and the potatoes to finish cooking. Fortunately this fell during the daily milking of the sheep and everyone made their way to watch the action.

Milking the sheep

Alex Seidel makes his own sheep’s milk ricotta and Pecora. It is quite tasty and in very limited production.

Asado de Tira or Flanken Ribs

Finally after rotating the lamb so that it slowly roasts over every part, we were ready to carve the beast.

We made quick work of taking apart the lamb and with a make shift buffet table on one of our coolers and a wide selection of Bauscher plates everyone came up and served themselves to a delicious feast and retreated to the shade of the Kelty tents and abundant Malbec.

Carving time

Caroline with a plateful

The day was a huge success and we might just try to make it an annual event.  We had a great group of foodies for the inaugural launch and I feel confident we will have an even more successful event next year.

One Response

  1. I am glad to hear you pulled it off. Well done chef.

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