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Recipe by Chef Hugo Arroyo, executive chef, Puerto la Boca (With Roberta Cotta & Carissa Sanchez)

I have been a chef since 1981. A good friend of mine was a chef, and he opened a French restaurant in Tucuman, Argentina. He taught me how to cook delicious food, and I fell in love with the art. I continued to learn more through culinary classes, and that began my career. I came to the U.S. in 2004 and was brought here from Argentina by the owners of Puerto la Boca. They chose me and told me about the restaurant they wanted to open. I have been cooking for them ever since.

I grew up in Tucuman. It’s a very small town with many people. The Argentinean Declaration of Independence was signed in Tucuman in 1816, and the town is dedicated to my country’s independence from Spain. No one was a chef in my family, but we had to eat somehow. Both my mother and father cooked simple meals, and I liked to learn and help out. I’ve always liked to cook, even as a kid.

In Argentina, we make homemade cannelloni with a variety of fillings such as cheese and meat. I like to eat cannelloni whenever I can. I guess I would say my specialty is Argentinean and Italian food. I keep the kitchen organized so that when it gets busy I can find my ingredients and utensils and prepare beautiful food. 

When I’m not working, I cook different things everyday to keep variety in my life. I always cook for my family and friends. We have Argentine barbecues and I grill steaks and chorizo. I cook empanadas every day because I love them. They are an Argentine tradition, and I grew up making them and eating them with my family. Other than empanadas, I enjoy cooking beef. Argentines take pride in their beef because we are known to the world for our good steak.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 1–2

  • 2 strips bacon
  • 2 filet mignon steaks (about 1”–2” thick)
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Half an onion, cut into thin slices
  • Half a bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • Half cup tomato sauce
  • Half cup green peas
  • Quarter cup white wine

HOW TO DO IT

Prepare a fire in a charcoal or gas grill. Wrap a strip of bacon around each steak, securing it with a toothpick or kitchen twine. Grill the steaks for about 8 minutes per side (5 minutes per side for rare). Set steaks aside to rest for at least 10 minutes.

Set an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan. When the butter is foamy, carefully crack 2 eggs into the skillet and season lightly with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the whites are firm, 2 to 2H minutes. Remove pan from hot burner.

In another skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the onions and bell peppers and cook until the onions are translucent. Then add the tomato sauce, green peas, and white wine.

Top the filets with “Riojana” sauce, and place a fried egg on top of each. I recommend serving this dish with Spanish potatoes.

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