Seven Fires Dinner at Ruka’s Table and a Recipe for Burnt Oranges with Rosemary
Each course was paired with some excellent wines from Davis Family Vineyards from Sonoma, California. This small family winery is located in the beautiful Russian River Valley. Guy Davis shared his wines with the guests and explained the flavors and pairings with each course.
It was fascinating to see the method of cooking earlier in the day and how it translated to the dinner that evening. Thank you so much to Chefs Mitch Sheppard and John Fleer and the staff at Ruka’s Table for a truly memorable evening.
I purchased the Seven Fires book after our interview with John Fleer last year. While the primary method of cooking in the book is with an open wood fire, Mallmann has modified many of these recipes so they can be prepared in your kitchen in a cast iron skillet. They do not all require an outdoor fire pit or grill.
I chose a recipe that Mallmann says is one of his easiest, however, he goes on to say that “the flavors and texture- bitter, sweet, fruity, floral, herbal, and smoothly creamy – are supremely intense and complex.” While he recommends preparing this outdoors due to the amount of smoke it creates, if you have a good ventilating system, a cast iron skillet over a medium-high heat works extremely well.
We loved the flavors in this dessert. There is that right mix of charring the citrus that Mallmann refers to. It was cooked perfectly without crossing over that line where it becomes overly burned. This is a simple yet elegant dessert and quite impressive to serve to company during the holidays.
I would highly recommend reading more about these cooking techniques and trying some of the other recipes in Mallmann’s book, Seven Fires. It is far more than a cookbook. Mallmann shares stories about his life with the reader and his inspiration for this book. He also explains these cooking methods in depth. I now know why John Fleer was so fascinated with Francis Mallmann and the Seven Fires and why he and Mitch Sheppard were inspired to create this dinner.
* Disclosure – We were guests of Ruka’s Table for this dinner. The opinions expressed are our own and we were not compensated for writing this article.
Burnt Oranges with Rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup plain thick Greek yogurt
1. Cut both ends off the oranges. One at a time, using a sharp paring knife, remove the peel and all the white pith from each orange in strips, working from top to bottom all the way around the orange. Cut the oranges crosswise in half and plate them on a plate cut side up.
2. Sprinkle the rosemary leaves over the oranges, and push some of the rosemary leaves into them so they adhere. Sprinkle half the sugar on top.
3. Heat a chapa or large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Spread the remaining sugar on the cooking surface and when it begins to melt, put the oranges cut side down on the sugar. Do not move them for 3 to 4 minutes, and adjust the heat so that the cut side burns nicely but does not smell acrid and the oranges are softened.
4. Transfer “burnt” side up to individual plates. Spoon the yogurt next to the oranges. Drizzle the burnt sugar and juice from the pan over the oranges and yogurt and serve.
Chef Francis Mallmann
Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way