Argentinean Asado – A traditional food that brings family and friends together
People celebrate their heritages in various ways. One of the more popular ways to celebrate one’s heritage is by breaking bread with others. Foods are important to people of all ethnicities, including those who identify as Hispanic or Latino. Latin meals are quite diverse and enjoyed by people across the globe.
The dishes and various recipes hold great importance and sentimental value for continuing family traditions. There is also major importance in shedding light on cultures for people of all backgrounds to know and experience.
In an effort to share in the celebration of Hispanic heritage foods Redland Market Village is providing insight on different foods and its associated cultural traditions. Today’s spotlight is called Asado and below are servings of the essentials surrounding this delicious, sociable dish.
What is Asado?
- Argentinean Asado is a quintessential tradition of a cooking technique originating from the Argentine cowboys – or the Gauchos.
- It’s cooking in a minimalistic form with only 3 main factors a grill, called a parrilla, an open fire and meat (gas-fuelled grills are a no-no).
- There are variations of the meat you can choose to be grilled. Asado mainly features flank-cut beef ribs with nothing but salt, grilled over an open fire. Other typical options include chicken, and lamb, as well as chorizo (sausages), mollejas (sweetbreads), chinchulines (chitterlings), and morcilla (blood sausage).
- The meat for an asado is not marinated. It’s traditionally prepared with only applying basic salt and sometimes pepper, before the cooking period.
- Asado is slow cooked by the asador paying close attention to the heat & distance from the meat.
- It can easily take between 2-3 hours to properly and successfully cook asado.
“It’s not just food, it’s an experience.” – The Asado is meant to be a type of social event, comparable to what the U.S. would consider a B-B-Q, the Argentinean culture enjoys gathering family and friends by the open fire while cooking.
“Un aplauso para el Asador.” – (An applause for the Asador) There is often what is referred to as an asador which would culturally translate in America to the “Grill Master”. The asador is the one and only individual in charge of cooking the asado meat to perfection.
“Be prepared to eat late and leave even later” – An asado is held to celebrate holidays and special occasions but in Argentina, it would be no surprise to get an invite on any given weekend to an Asado.
- Once cooked the asado is meant to be served immediately and commonly accompanied by homemade condiments such as chimichurri sauce (see recipe below) or salsa criolla.
- of chopped parsley, dried oregano, garlic, salt, black pepper, onion, and paprika with olive oil, or, a sauce of tomato and onion in vinegar, are common accompaniments to an asado, where they are traditionally used on the offal, but not the steaks.
- Be sure to grab a bottle (or two) of the sweet and spicy red wine called Malbec. It is a staple in Argentina which is one of the top 5 largest producers of wine in the world.
Stay true to tradition and avoid offending the meal by using any mayonnaise or ketchup. Instead, use the herb-based condiment known as chimichurri. Although it can be bought pre-made you may opt for this simple recipe from scratch.
- 1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, trimmed of thick stems
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsps fresh oregano leaves (can sub 2 teaspoons dried oregano)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Finely chop the parsley, fresh oregano, and garlic (or process in a food processor several pulses). Place in a small bowl.
- Stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Adjust seasonings.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate. If chilled, return to room temperature before serving. Can keep for a day or two.
Are you curious to learn more about the different most popular Latin dishes? Stay tuned to the Redland Market Village blog for more Latin-inspired dishes posts to help anyone start sharing in the cultural fun!