It is no secret that appetites ignite in the great outdoors. And that old adage that food tastes better in the outdoors is more true than ever. With today's modern conveniences and superb foods and spices, cooking up a simple shore lunch is easier and tastier than ever.
I love to cook in the outdoors, especially on a gravel bar along a river bank. Most meals in this setting involve freshly caught fish of some sort.
Fish are the main course of my gravel bar meals. They are simple to prepare. I pack a single burner Coleman backpacking stove. A 7-inch frying pan and cooking oil are the main requirements, besides the fish.
Fish fillets should be patted dry on a paper towel. Next, they should be rolled in your favorite fish batter. The options seem endless. Old timers still prefer yellow corn meal. Some add an egg to the cornmeal, while others toss in a little 7 Up or their favorite beer. Commercial batters offer and endless array of options Bass Pro’s Uncle Buck batters come in a number of flavors from mild to spicy hot.
A small folding table is priceless when preparing shore lunches. The table top holds the cooking stove, while side panels give room to set utensils and seasonings.
Cooking oil should be brought to a bubbling heat before dropping in the fish fillets. It only takes a couple of minutes on each side to bring the filets to a golden brown color. One of the biggest mistakes cooks make is cooking fish too long. Over cooked fish has a lot less flavor.
Once the fish is removed from the oil, it should be allowed to cool on paper towels to soak up some of the oil. As soon as the fish are removed from the cooking oil, they may be dusted with salt, pepper or a favorite seasoning. Figure on three or four fish fillets per person or more for big eaters.
Fried potatoes are a perfect compliment to freshly cooked fish. Cutting them up before the trip saves a lot of time on the gravel bar when cooking time arrives. One again, all kinds of batters and seasonings are available. However, one of the simplest and most favorable methods of cooking spuds is to simply added some chopped onions. Salt and pepper is a great seasoning combination as is Season All.
Often, fish and potatoes is all I make for a quick and easy shore lunch. However, if time allows, I like to add a delicious cold slaw. I usually prepare it the night before or pick up a commercial brand.
When I am especially energetic, I like to add a macaroni salad or fresh garden salad adorned with fresh water cress right from the river. Sliced boiled eggs on top with your favorite dressing is areal treat.
Add a huge cup of iced sweet tea with lemon, or your favorite cold drink and you have a meal fit for a king.
My fishing buddy, Richardson, quipped, “Bill that wasn’t a shore lunch, that was a shore feast!” I’ll make the rules on our next float fishing trip.