Regular readers may know that I’m almost as passionate about food as I am about flyfishing. My fishing trips are carefully planned, including the food.
Being a bit of a minimalist, I like to be very organised with my gear and with my catering.
To maximise time on the water and minimise time in the cabin or camp kitchen, I have some go-to dishes – delicious and simple – which I’d like to share with you. My suggestion is you practice these now, so you’re ready to go when you can next head off fishing again. Your current housemates will thank you, as will your future fishing trip mates!
My Chicken Cacciatore and baked vegies.
Sounds exotic but this is really simple to cook:
Ingredients (feeds 4)
- 1 free range chicken
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 6 large potatoes
- 8 medium carrots
- Corn cobs
- Olive Oil
- Wine (any wine but preferably a dry white or Rose)
- Cut chicken into 8 pieces, salt it to taste and put aside.
- Finely chop 2-3 garlic cloves and 1 sprig of rosemary.
- Pour about ¼ of a cup of olive oil onto the chicken and work the garlic and rosemary into it.
- Heat a large frying pan to hot, and smear it with a bit of olive oil.
- Put chicken in, skin down and cook fast for a few minutes until skin starts to brown.
- Turn the chicken pieces over and do the same.
- Once you have sealed the chicken (which keeps it moist), turn down the heat to low-medium and cook the chicken until cooked through (30-40 minutes).
- Once chicken is cooked, remove from pan into a clean bowl.
- Sprinkle about a tablespoon of plain flour into the hot frying pan and brown it (1-2 mins).
- Pour in a glass of wine and deglaze (scrape) the pan until the wine has mostly evaporated and you are left with a gravy-like liquid.
- Put chicken back into the pan, work through the gravy and serve.
- Heat oven to around 200C.
- Cut your potatoes into wedges (see pic).
- Halve or quarter carrots (see pic).
- 1-2 corn cob pieces per person.
- Finely chop up remaining garlic and rosemary (you can use whatever fresh herbs you like).
- Rub the herbs and about ½ cup of olive oil into the vegies and bake until crispy.
As a general rule, you should start baking the vegies about 15 mins before you start cooking the chicken: chicken cooking time around 45 mins; vegies baking time around 60 mins.
My version of Minestrone Soup
This is a simple dish. You can prepare it at home and bring it with you (and simply heat up); or cook it on site.
Ingredients (feeds 4)
- 2 large onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- Fresh herbs (basil, sage; whatever you can get your hands on).
- 4 potatoes
- 4 carrots
- ½ a cauliflower
- 2 tins of Borlotti beans or just kidney beans will be fine.
- Two tins of Italian peeled tomatoes or puree.
- 2 two chicken stock cubes.
- Salt, pepper, olive oil.
- 150 grams of short pasta.
- Parmigiano or Grana Padana.
- Finely chop onion, garlic and herbs (and add stock cubes) and gently sauté in about ¼ cup of olive oil until onion is slightly browning.
- Chop up all the vegies into small 1.5 cm cubes.
- Add cubed vegies into a large pan/pot.
- Mix and cook through with the aromatics for about 10 mins on medium heat.
- Add two tins of Italian peeled tomatoes or puree, and cook for around 10 mins.
- Add water, 1 litre or so.
- Cook the soup for around 30-40mins on slow to medium heat.
- Add pasta and cook at medium heat until the pasta is al dente.
- The soup should thicken up a little (not gluggy – see pic.)
Serve with crusty bread and grated Parmigiano. Season to taste.
Black Olive Pasta
This is simple, quick and super tasty.
Ingredients (feeds 2)
- 1 jar of pipped Kalamata olives
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 small red chili (or not)
- ¼ cup of chopped parsley or whatever herbs you can get your hands on.
- 2 tins of Italian peeled tomatoes
- Italian pasta – rigatoni, spaghetti (whatever you fancy): approx. 120-140grams per person.
- Olive oil
- Finely chop garlic (you can also use 1 small onion) and herbs.
- Sauté (in a large frying pan) in ¼ cup of olive oil.
- When herbs are sautéed but not too browned, drain the olives and add to the mix.
- Cook for a few minutes.
- Add two tins of peeled tomatoes.
- Bring to the boil and then cook for about half an hour on low to medium heat.
- Boil water and two tablespoons of salt.
- Add pasta and cook al dente (normally about 8 mins).
- Drain pasta but retain 1 cup of pasta water.
- Add pasta to the sauce and thoroughly mix through on gentle heat (1 minute) whilst adding a bit of pasta water if required.
- Serve in a large bowl with a small splash of olive oil and a couple of spoonfuls of grated Parmigiano.
As I said earlier, now is the perfect time to practice these recipes at home. They are simpler than they look to cook, and your family/ housemates will love you for it.
Once back on the water, your fishing companions will start referring to you as ‘Chef’ and ‘Legend’; you’ll be first on the list to be invited to exotic fishing trips locally and around the world!
Buon appetito, and stay safe, sane and healthy!