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Fernando Trocca in Canada

Fernando Trocca

Last week the legendary Argentinian chef Fernando Trocca made his first visit to Canada, stopping in at Anthony Rose’s backyard BBQ hot spot Big Crow.

At his flagship Buenos Airies restaurant Sucre (#29 of on the 2014 Latin American edition of World’s 50 Best Restaurants) Fernando Trocca plays with culinary influences from Spain, Japan, and Peru. But on this cooking tour – in support of Argentinian winemaking giant Graffigna – his purpose was to showcase Argentina at its simplest, most unadulterated carnivorous best, with a traditional asado.

So after the plump, crisp empanadas (beef with diced potato and spring onions) and the sweetbreads, we moved on to the main event: big beef. Slow-roasted short ribs, smoky and succulent, seasoned with nothing more than salt, pepper and smoke from the freshly made maple charcoal. Then the similarly cooked ribeye, cooked to medium-well instead of the more locally familiar (and preferred) medium rare, but coaxed there so so slowly and gently that the texture and juiciness made the cuisson seem ideal.

The beef Trocca used for the event was corn-finished Canadian, dry-aged to my idea of mildly funky perfection but the Butcher Shoppe. Knowing that the night before the grill-master had cooked at a similar event in NYC with some super-fatty USDA Prime, and that back home in Argentrina he uses only grass-fed Argentinian beef, after the event we questioned him about how the three styles (and nationalities) of beef compare one to another.

Fernado Trocca: Well in Argentina we do not dry-age beef at all. So if do ribeye like this {roasted and sliced on a cutting board by the grilkl] there is blood, blood everywhere. Here, nothing – my board is dry!

C100B: Do you use the blood for anything – tip it into a sauce, like your Rioja reduction?

FT: No, no. We mop it up with bread.

C100B: OK. But what do you think of this dryer beef?

FT: The beef is very good. But to tell the truth, I don’t like dry-aged very much. It’s too…metallic?

C100B: Ferous. Iron – from the concentrated blood.

FT: Exactly – yes! In Argentina we have beef that is much more fresh, and very juicy. The juices flow form the steak even if it rests.

C100B: Okay. So all that aside, how did the dry aged Canadian beef compare to the American?

FT: Oh – the American beef is way too big! They give me the rib steaks and it’s like dinosaur ribs. The ribeye they gave was so fatty – it’s crazy!

So there you go: we’re a very respectable number 2.