Thursday, May 03, 2007

Feasts in the Wild

You don't have to eat junk food in hunting camp. From my fellow New Mexico hunter MDMNM at Sometimes Far Afield:

"The best bottle of wine I had last year was uncorked on a grouse hunt (it was a Casa Rodena 1998 Cabernet Franc, if you were wondering). On this last trip, dinner the first night centered around grilled redfish and asparagus. For my money, one of the best eating fish is redfish when prepared "on the half shell". That is, you fillet the fish, leaving the skin on, and then grill it with the skin and scale side down. The heavy scales char and protect the meat, which sort of poaches in its own fat and juices. Prior to grilling, sprinkle the meat side with some salt and fresh ground pepper, along with some herbs that go with fish (I like thyme, a little oregano, and parsley along with a bit of dried chive if I have it) and perhaps a little smoked paprika. Some cooks will brush the flesh with melted butter first, but I don't consider that step necessary. Grill the fish over a fairly hot fire to keep from drying it out too much. Bonny Doon Vineyard's Vin Gris de Cigare went along quite nicely. The second night we had to scratch by with elk cutlets grilled very rare and a green salad, along with another favorite, Sandia Shadows' Cabernet Sauvignon (2000), which is a nice cab for those of us who like them a bit tannic and big, but not jammy.

"While nice, these meals aren't even trying very hard. For a few years when we gathered in larger elk-hunting camps we would try to do something a bit more fancy on the night before the season opened. Perhaps the most spectacular example of those meals featured large trout, kept whole and stuffed with a dressing of rice and water chestnuts and then grilled. Bacon wrapped nilgai fillets, black bean and shrimp chili, and grilled prawns in mojo de ajo also deserve recollection. I contend that for every backpack meal of freeze-dried or salami and cheese, a hunter or fisher should fire up his Dutch oven or spend some time grilling up something a bit special."


mdmnm said...

Wow! and thanks! I'm terribly flattered to be quoted and linked on Querencia.


Matt Mullenix said...

Damn! Now I'm hungry!

Neutrino said...

There is also the wonderful kingdom of the fungi. I once took a ride out on the trails by Lake City, CO with an old hand who knew what was good to eat and what wasn't. What's more he could give a detailed description of what each one tasted like, suggesting that he had made many a meal of mushrooms.

Alas, he never did get a chance to show off his culinary talent on the trail. Perhaps some other time.

R. A. Wilderson