When we think of outdoor cooking, it’s easy for things like hot dogs and canned beans to pop into our head. Sure, these meals put something in your belly, but they leave your taste buds craving for more. Just because you choose to trade your in your modern digs in for the beauty of the great outdoors, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on the quality of the food you eat. In fact, it’s a great opportunity to up your cooking game and try your hand at gourmet cooking.
In episode two of Not Without Salt, blogger and cooking extraordinaire Ashley Rodriguez shared several recipes from her late-night shell fishing adventure in Olympia, Washington. After combing the beach for hours, Ashley gathered fresh ingredients such as oysters and clams, she packed them in her Adventure Cooler and headed up the beach. Here is where she created an outdoor kitchen, featuring the Adventure Base Camp Cook Set. Ashley worked her magic and created a fine menu of options, complete with a boozy beverage.
Smoked Clam CarbonaraWhile far from the classic this carbonara is quite possibly the most satisfying meal by the fire. Clams slowly steam and smoke by the fire scented with the residual bacon and garlic cooked in the same pan. Eggs and Parmesan miraculously submit into a creamy sauce with the help of a bit of heat the starchy water that the pasta cooked in.
Finished with a bit of lemon for brightness, parsley for color and freshness and even more cheese - no explanation needed.
Serving Size: 4 to 6
- 170 g pancetta or bacon cut into 1/2 -inch strips
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 450 g spaghetti or bucatini
- Sea salt
- 20 g Parmesan, grated, plus more to finish
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to finish
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus more to finish
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 450 g clams, scrubbed clean
- 32 g roughly chopped Italian parsley to finish
- Add enough water to fill a large Dutch oven or stock pot up halfway then stir in enough salt to make the water taste of the sea. Bring this to a boil.
- While the water comes to a boil, crisp up the pancetta in a large skillet, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until golden and crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the bacon and garlic to a plate.
- Add the clams to the same skillet the bacon and garlic cooked in. Set the pan over the coals for 1 minute while stirring to coat the clams in the residual grease. Set the pan off to the side of the coals yet still close to the fire. They’ll slowly start to open and take on some of that luscious smoke.
- Cook the pasta until al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- In a large bowl stir together the Parmesan, eggs, and black pepper until thoroughly combined.
- Add the hot noodles directly to the egg mixture and stir well and quickly so as not to cook the eggs. Add a bit of the pasta water as needed to create a creamy sauce.
- To the pasta add the bacon, garlic, and clams then stir in the lemon zest and juice.
- Transfer the pasta to a serving platter then top with more grated Parmesan, lemon zest, black pepper, and Parsley.
Raw Oysters With Lemony Dill Oil And PercornioIt’s a bit intimidating preparing shellfish dishes for the people who have dedicated their lives to raising some of the best shellfish around. But I could not have been more pleased (and perhaps even a bit surprised) with how delicious this combination is.
The stunning emerald oil pools in the oyster shell creating a sea of green along with the salty brine. A flurry of Pecorino adds a creamy richness that cuts through the acidity and brininess beautifully.
Serving Size: 4 to 6
- 1 small bunch Dill, stemmed removed, torn
- 1 small garlic clove
- Zest of one lemon
- 59 ml olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Pecorino, finely grated
- 1 dozen oysters, raw, on the half shell.
- Add dill, garlic and lemon zest to a mortar and pestle or small food processor. Crush or process until finely chopped. Stir in the lemon juice then stream in olive oil.
- This oil can be made ahead and brought to the fire.
- Top each oyster with a teaspoon of the dill oil and grate pecorino over.
Spicy Tequila Oyster ShootersBesides sitting near the warmth of the embers I can think of no better way to warm up after a midnight shellfish adventure. Served straight in the shell you can leave the space in your backpack you would have taken up to pack glassware for more tequila.
Serving Size: Makes 8 oyster shooters
- 1 slice jalapeno
- 2 slices cucumber
- 5 mint leaves
- 30 ml tequila
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 8 oysters, shucked but kept in the shell
- Add the jalapeno, cucumber slices, and mint leaves to the bottom of a Stanley cocktail shaker. Gently muddle until the ingredients are lightly crushed and fragrant. Fill the shaker with ice, and add the tequila. Replace the lid then shake vigorously.
- Pour a little over each oyster then finish with a squeeze of lime. Serve straightaway.