Francis Mallmann Says This Vegetarian Recipe Is Similar To Steak - Exclusive

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When you think of a strict vegetarian, Argentine chef Francis Mallmann is probably not the first person that comes to mind. The award-winning restaurateur is well known around the world for cooking meats over an open flame. However, Mallmann revealed to Mashed in an exclusive interview that he started to think about incorporating more vegetables in his diet after young people started writing to him through social media. He said before that vegetarians hadn't been kind with him, when they would discuss his propensity to cook livestock.

"In the past, the vegan would come to an event and look at the chickens and say, 'What are you doing? You're a killer. You're an assassin,'" he explained. "And now, these kids were so, so nice to me saying, 'We love what you do, but we don't eat meat or fish,' so I thought I owe them something." After having these conversations and realizing the devastating impacts that meat production can have on the environment, this sent Mallmann on a quest to create a cookbook that featured purely vegetarian recipes. However, he said it was important to him that they were still cooked with the kind of incredible flavors he uses to marinate beef and chicken.

The famous chef's favorite vegetarian recipe

Mallmann said that after four years of testing different techniques and getting everything just right, he released his cookbook "Green Fire." The book contains recipes like whole cabbage that's grilled like a steak and rubbed with spice for a mustard-fennel crust. With so many delicious ingredients to choose from, it could be hard to pick a favorite — but not for Mallmann.

He said his eggplant Milanese is his top choice because it's basically like "eating something like a steak because it's quite rich." He revealed that the dish is slowly cooked in ashes and the Milanese is made with fresh breadcrumbs and inside it has garlic and thyme that's served with aioli. Mallmann explained that although it's not exactly like eating meat, it's an entirely different world of flavor and opportunity. "It's different, but it's delicious anyway," he said,. "and you can eat it and feel that you had a very nice lunch or dinner."

Francis Mallmann's cookbook "Green Fire" is available on Amazon.