Camping alongside a well-stocked river or lake has a lot of benefits, providing you with a great dinner, granted you can catch it! When it comes to serving up your day’s catch, you can cook fresh fish over the campfire in several delicious and simple ways.
You don’t need a lot of tools to prepare your fish. A fillet knife can be used for scaling, skinning, slicing, and filleting. You’ll need a container to collect the parts of the fish you remove during preparation. When skinning non-scaly fish like catfish, remove the spiny fins first to make the fish easier to handle.
Once you’ve cleaned, gutted, and filleted your catch, you have a few different options for cooking fresh fish over the campfire.
One simple method is to place your fillets in a foil pouch. Add lemon slices, salt and pepper to taste, or sprinkle your favorite seasoning mix over the fish. Garlic gives fish a savory flavor, or you can add a few dabs of butter for richness. Seal up the foil pouch and place it over hot coals, turning after five minutes. It takes about ten minutes to cook fish thoroughly. The fish is cooked completely when it easily flakes apart and is no longer translucent.
For a rustic touch, you can wrap your fish in leaves before cooking. Leaves from walnut, oak, chestnut, maple, or even cherry trees will work. Season your fish with salt and pepper or herbs, then overlap the leaves to cover the fish completely. Secure the leaves with wet twine to keep them closed, then put the packet in hot coals to cook. This is a fun way to experiment with different flavors when cooking fresh fish over the campfire.
For all the flavor of deep fried fish without the greasy kitchen cleanup, you can have a fish and chips fry up at the campsite. Pack a seasoned fish fry mix or flour blended with your favorite spices in a large zip-top bag. You’ll also need a deep skillet resting on a steady, solid platform over the fire. The last thing you want is for the pan to tip and dump hot oil. Pour about one inch of vegetable oil into the pan and allow it to heat. Toss your fish in the coating mix, then carefully place it into the hot oil. Let fish cook for a few minutes on each side until the outside is golden brown. Drain fish on paper plates or paper towels and let it cool a bit before that first delicious bite.
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