Primal pizza – Mantambre a la pizza

So, after seeing this tantalizing meal on the Food Network, I went for a spin on the internet.

This is a popular snack food in Argentina. There are many recipes out there for how to make it.

Meat pizza.

Flank steak, cut in half horizontally, or pounded thin.

In the Argentines, apparently the tug of this tough and affordable cut is part of the fun. For me, not so much. I like tender steak.

So, traditionally, you would soak the steak in milk to tenderize a bit before shaping for the “pizza.”

I prefer to run mine through a jacquard.

Depending on the steak, I usually cut the thicker part in half horizontally, pound the rest flat with a meat tenderizer, and jacquard  all the steak pieces in three or four passes.

Oil the meat, salt it, and start with cheese or something to seal the bottom–I find the steak sometimes tears or gets a thin spot. If you don’t do dairy, pick any topping that will form a temporary platform for what goes on top. (The flank steak shrinks and comes together while cooking to make any weak spots disappear.) Then layer on anything you might like on a pizza.

Some recipes call for pre-searing the meat on a hot pan.

I find I like it best raw, topped, and cooked on a baking rack over a half sheet pan for 30-40 minutes at about 400 F. The stuff in the bottom of the tray — half meat juices and half melted cheese — can be the best part.

However in grill season, I’d just do it straight on the grill, flipping once before topping.

With the right toppings, it’s part pizza, part Philly cheese steak.

I really can’t find anything to criticize in that combo. I have also made an approximation of real mantambre (meaning, hunger killer) which is a butterflied flank steak, pounded to an even thickness, and filled with all manner of yummy things, rolled up in a meat pinwheel. That is delicious, but a lot more work.

The more labor-intensive version is also paleo-frendly and gluten free, but man, PIZZA!

‘Za wins, every time.




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