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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Trail Chef: Chefs Mike Faverman and Pat Mac's Mouthwatering Dill Salmon

We review their new recipe book Ultimate Camp Cooking. Plus: their easy-cook Dill Salmon recipe.

by: Kristin Bjornsen

Dill Salmon (Photo courtesy of Ultimate Camp Cooking)
Dill Salmon (Photo courtesy of Ultimate Camp Cooking)

Here at BACKPACKER's office, we have shelves and shelves of camp cookbooks, but many of them suffer the same near-fatal flaw: They don't have photos of the food. When I'm flipping through recipes, trying to decide which one to invest time and energy into, I want to know what the final product looks like: a king's meal or baby food?

So when one new addition to the genre, Ultimate Camp Cooking by Mike Faverman and Pat Mac ($15,, landed on my desk, it caught my eye. Glossy, full-color professional shots of every dish; a durable, water-resistant cover that withstands the vagaries of camp life; and lots of personality in the form of humorous essays and tips from the authors based on their outdoor-cooking experiments. There's also a nice variety of unique recipes.

But cooker beware: While these recipes are designed to have minimal cleanup and hassle in the outdoors, most of them are tailored to car camping—i.e., they involve lots of fresh, heavy ingredients and/or they use a dutch oven or grill. So this book is not for most backcountry backpackers (the exception being hiker-chefs who don't mind larger loads). That said, some dishes do work equally well in the backcountry, such as this delish dill salmon recipe, excerpted with permission below. Can you say yum?

Dill Salmon
Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 (1 1/2- to 2-pound) salmon fillet
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 large lemon, sliced

This recipe is so easy to make in an aluminum foil wrap—and cleanup is easy! Take a sheet of foil and pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil on it. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Lay your salmon fillet on the oil, then pour the other tablespoon of olive oil on the surface and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Squeeze some lemon juice on top. Throw your onion on top of that, along with your garlic and basil. Sprinkle with the dill, then place the sliced lemon on top of everything. Place another piece of foil on top and seal the edges of the top and bottom pieces of foil.

Grill over medium-high heat for 35 minutes (or over a fire using a backpacker's grill), or until the salmon is cooked to your liking. Some people prefer their salmon undercooked, but we like it cooked completely through.

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Aug 11, 2011

One could wrap it in lettuce leaves inside the foil to minimize the interaction with the acid of the lemon. Parchment paper should work fairly well too, though. I use it in bread and pizza baking at 550 degrees, with no problems. Parchment paper alone over fire would be a mistake. It will catch fire if overheated or exposed to flames or sparks, and it won't hold moisture very well alone. Lettuce as an inner wrapping would add moisture, but the lemon and veggies will do that already, and salmon doesn't need a lot of help in that regard, due to the (good - unsaturated) oils in it.

Can't wait to try this!

Apr 12, 2011

The lemon juice will "acid cook" the fish some and prevent fast spoiling. Unless you are backpacking somewhere in the summer with temps over 90F, you should be able to get away just fine with cooking it the first night with no worries about spoiling.

Mar 27, 2011

Just tried this recipe - awesome! Give it a try tonight (even if you happen to be at home).

Vancouver Islander
Mar 26, 2011

You forgot the parchment paper! It is neutral, alu foil is metal and active with your citric acid etc.
Gonna give it a whirl!

Mar 25, 2011

fresh fish? Unless you're packing a cooler or at least ice, it would have to be eaten for lunch on the first day or it would no longer be fresh.


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