Pizzas in the Mud Oven

Pizzas in the Mud Oven

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In the Uruguayan countryside lies the remote town of Garzón, where chef Agustín Mallmannon sets a fire to make thin, exquisite pizzas in a mud oven.

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Transcript

- Today I am traveling to Garzon, a very small town with a population of 200, 70 kilometers northeast of Punta del Este. In this is small town is where my professional cooking career started, as an intern in my uncle's summer restaurant, Garzon. As an unexperienced chef, I did all the work everybody did not want to do. I peeled potatoes, chopped onions, and cleaned all the greens that arrived to the restaurant. It was very hard work, but it gave me the experience that I needed. Today I'm turning on this wood oven of my friend Lucia Soria's, ex-chef of Francis. When she reached a peak working for him, she opened up this restaurant, Lucifer. Before coming to Garzon, I stopped by Jose Ignacio, where there is an organic farm, and bought the vegetables to cook the pizzas. The tomato sauce is a very important ingredient for the pizza. Today I am making it in a mud casserole with tomato, red onion, garlic, white wine, sea salt, and chili flakes; all of that mixed up and burnt in the wood oven. For the tomato sauce, before putting the tomatoes, red onion, and garlic in the mud oven to cook, I like to mush all of it together with my hands so each ingredient releases its juice. These summer restaurants in Uruguay have their own charm. They open for a few months in the summer and then close all winter. I like coming to these summer restaurants during off season, where there is nothing set up, no tables, and no chefs, only the mud oven and its wood. I like to make the dough without a specific recipe. Of course, the water is always mixed with the yeast and sea salt around the ends. Then slowly integrate and mix all of the ingredients. In my opinion, one of the most important things in pizza is the dough, thin and crispy. I chose to cook in this mud oven because here in this small town is where I learned to cook with fire and its temperatures. During the three summer seasons working in the restaurant, I realized how much the tourist fell in love with the town, a town in the middle of the Uruguayan Ranch. There are very few places like this left in the world. This fresh salad made out of thinly sliced zucchinis, cheese, and mint, is a salad I learned to do in my uncle's restaurant. I love this salad, but I needed something else. So I decided to make it on top of a pizza. After three long summer seasons working in the restaurant with a lot of hard work and dedication, I learned all of what I know today. This is why I wanna take this time watching the wood burn and remembering the days cooking here, to say thank you to Restaurant Garzon and its chefs.

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