Cooking Outdoors

Yes, this is the first blog entry since I have successfully completed my accounting exam! A lot of dishes I cooked with new adaptations have escaped being documented while my own laptop is choking its last breaths before it threatens to go lifeless. Freedom from not having to study for the summer, however, is delicious. I will have to revisit the dishes I’ve made; I found a simpler version of making chicken satay and peanut sauce. Who would’ve known that fresh turmeric (“kunyit”) can make it taste better?

On Canada Day long weekend, my boyfriend and I decided to celebrate the occasion by camping. The mission: to catch two fish for consumption. Cooking outdoors can be both fun and challenging. It is challenging, especially when you are at the mercy of weather. Nonetheless, the pristine beauty of the hiking trails around the lake, along with part of the Rocky Mountains as a back-drop, there is nothing more romantic than roasting marshmallows whilst enjoying the moonlight and starlight.

First Catch of the Day!

As much as I would love to carry my spice collection with me, I had to limit myself to the following ingredients:
sea-salt (packed in a tiny Ziploc container),
pepper,
one clove of garlic,
small bottle of olive oil, and
Provencal herbs.

Cookware: tin foil. Equipment: camping knife.
Choice for sides: corn and sliced zucchini, both seasoned will olive oil and a titch of sea salt. (If only I could pack butter!)

So, my boyfriend being the skilled fisherman caught two trouts as we planned. Now, it’s my turn to do the prep-work: de-scale, de-gut and clean. The easy version is to cook it with olive oil. If you are ambitious, you could proceed to fillet the fish, dip it in batter and roast it by the campfire.

Removing fish scales
Many would skip descaling a fish, but it is definitely not romantic when you have to spit out fish scales when eating! By holding the knife fairly perpendicular to the fish, you can easily scrape the scales out from both sides. Don’t forget the top (dorsal) and bottom (ventral) areas along the fish!

Dissecting the fish like a surgeon

Removing the fish’s organs
While this task may seem unpleasant for some, it is a crucial step to ensure your fresh fish tastes like candy! Any traces of viscera will spoil your hard work.

  1. Cut the fish’s ventral fins. Proceed to slit the fish’s belly open from its tail towards its mouth. Take care not to puncture any internal organs — or the gall could affect the taste of the fish. Note: it is completely normal to see a yucky brown secretion by the fish’s anal fin. All it takes is some running water to clean.
  2. Remove all the internal organs carefully. You may find that with one gentle push of a thumb, it is quite easy to dislocate all the organs. Cut the ends that hold the organs together. Discard organs.
  3. Wait, you are not done yet. There is a thick red line where the organs used to rest against. Scrape it off with a knife.
  4. Clean with some running water to remove any scales and blood.

Trout wrapped in tin foil, seasoned with garlic, provencal herbs, sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Fresh fish does not require a lot of salt; it tends to be sweet in texture. Note that fish does not take very long to cook in open fire. Depending on how hot your campfire is, it could range between 10 to 20 minutes. Cooking fish wrapped in tin foil helps keep the heat and creates an environment for the fish to be cooked by steam.

Mm, yum.

Trout served with corn and zucchini