How to Make a Camping Meal That Will Impress Your Friends

May 19, 2014

If you’ve ever tried to make a nice meal while you’re camping, you know how hard it can be to get it right. Food cooks way different in the great outdoors than at home. There are definitely no warming ovens. And sometimes, it can take a small miracle to get it all on the plate at the same time. But we’ve got you covered.

Here’s everything you need, including step-by-step directions, to make one of our top recipes from the river. Your friends will be impressed you’ve got this gourmet camping meal up your sleeve.

CAMPING RECIPE: Pan-seared Salmon, Asparagus, Quinoa, and Spinach Salad, with Dutch Oven Brownies for Dessert (Serves 25)

Gourmet Camping: How to Make a Meal That Will Impress Your Friends

Ingredients You’ll Need

Salmon
10 pounds salmon (fillets)
8 lemons
Salt
Pepper
Dill weed

Asparagus
5 bunches fresh asparagus
1 bulb fresh garlic
1 cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Quinoa
5 celery stalks
5 carrots
12 cups water
2 tablespoons chicken stock
6 cups dry quinoa

Spinach Salad
5 bags of fresh baby spinach leaves (9 oz)
½ pound Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese (or similar)
¼ pound hazelnuts
¼ pound dried apricots
4 pints fresh blueberries
1 bottle Annie’s Goddess Salad Dressing or similar (16 oz)

Brownies
3 bags Ghirardelli Brownie Mix (you really don’t want to go with another brand on this one – trust us!)
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1 cup water
Whipped cream

Gourmet Camping: How to Make a Meal That Will Impress Your Friends

How to Make it Happen

6:00 pm: Start charcoal on grill. Toss trimmed asparagus with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, diced garlic, salt and pepper. Let rest to marinate.

6: 05 pm: Chop celery and carrots, then sauté with butter in a pot large enough to hold the quinoa.

6:10 pm: Stir brownie mix in Dutch oven.

6:15 pm: Once carrots and celery are tender, measure water for quinoa. Then add chicken stock to the water and bring to a boil.

6:20 pm: Turn on heat under cast iron skillet to medium. Slice 6 lemons into rounds. Slice remaining 2 lemons into wedges for garnish. Sprinkle salt, pepper and dill on salmon fillets.

6:25 pm: Lay lemon rounds across bottom of cast iron skillet. Then, place salmon fillets skin up with pink flesh resting on lemon. Place lid over skillet.

Gourmet Camping: How to Make a Meal That Will Impress Your Friends

6:30 pm: Put asparagus on grill. (Alternately, salmon and lemons can be wrapped in foil and put on grill and asparagus can be sautéed in skillets.) Place coals around Dutch oven full of brownie mix.

6:35 pm: Check salmon and move fish around in pan to avoid hot spots. Flip asparagus on grill.

6:40 pm: Add quinoa to boiling water and chop dried apricot and hazelnuts for salad.

6:45 pm: Check Salmon. Flip asparagus.

6:50 pm: Assemble all salad ingredients. Move asparagus to serving dish with lid where it will continue to cook in its own steam. Leave on or near coals to stay warm. Wipe off serving table and set out plates, utensils, fresh lemon wedges and condiments.

6:55 pm: Remove quinoa from heat. Salmon is done when lemons are golden brown and fish is pink and flaky.  Move salmon and asparagus to serving table.  Toss spinach with salad dressing. Sprinkle apricots, blueberries, hazelnuts and crumbled blue cheese over the top of salad in a decorative manner and move to serving table.

Gourmet Camping: How to Make a Meal That Will Impress Your Friends

7:00 pm: Fluff quinoa, move to serving table. Call “Dinner!” and watch all the happy campers devour your perfect gourmet camping meal.

Brownies will continue to cook. The right amount of coals will burn themselves out so that the Dutch oven will “turn off” after about 45 minutes leaving the brownies warming, but not burning. They can be served whenever people seem ready for dessert. Don’t forget the whip cream!

Do you have a go-to gourmet meal for camping? Share it with us below.

 

Related Articles:

The Art of Cooking for River Trips Revealed

The Guy Who Brings His Blow Torch on River Trips

Delicious Discoveries on the Rogue River

 

Kate Wollney
Kate Wollney has been a river guide for more than 18 years and is O.A.R.S.' Rogue River Manager.