When we talk about Argentine cooking on this blog, we often make the point that there isn’t a lot of seasoning in play in many of the recipes we share.
Often, the only spice at work in these dishes is the most basic and essential one there is: salt.
Today, we’re going to look at a new element of Argentine cooking called salmuera. Salmuera simply means “brine,” or a highly-concentrated solution of salt in water. Unlike regular salt, this brine won’t toughen your meats.
You can use salmuera as a marinade before you cook, or as a condiment when your meat comes off the grill. Best of all, you can whip up a batch in just a few minutes. You’ll need:
5 ounces virgin olive oil
5 ounces white vinegar
1 fresh garlic, all cloves peeled and sliced
2 bay leaves
2 sliced green hot peppers
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
½ sliced white onion
When you’ve gathered and prepared these ingredients, put them in a blender or food processor and process until completely blended.
If you’d like to take salmuera to another level, you can try this Food & Wine recipe for grilled pork chops with an almond salmuera. You’ll need:
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup (plus 2 tsp. sherry vinegar)
1 minced shallot
1 minced garlic clove
¼ cup chopped marcona almonds
1 tsp. minced chives
1 tsp. minced parsley
1 tsp. minced mint
1 tsp. minced cilantro
Canola oil for brushing
Four 8-ounce bone-in pork chops, cut one inch thick
Sea salt for finishing
Whisk ¼ cup of olive oil and two tablespoons of vinegar with the shallot, garlic, a tablespoon of kosher salt, a teaspoon of pepper and a cup of water. Stir in the almonds, parsley, chives, mint and cilantro.
Use a small bowl to whisk the remaining olive oil and vinegar with two tablespoons of pepper and ¼ cup of water. You now have two bowls of salmuera: regular and almond.
Grill the pork on your Gaucho Grill, basting frequently with the first bowl of salmuera until the meat is brown. You should grill the pork six to seven minutes on each side.
Remove the pork from the grill and baste it with the almond salmuera.
Ready to add salmuera to your Argentine cooking repertoire? The best way to do that is a Gaucho Grill. Visit our website today to find a grill model that works for you. Enjoy!