The gold standard for outdoor cooking is an approachable, multifaceted joyful read — and it could be yours. Enter to win a copy, and read on to find out why you’ll love Emma Frisch’s cookbook.
I’m jealous of you, C&I readers. You have the chance to win a free copy of Feast by Firelight: Simple Recipes for Camping, Cabins, and the Great Outdoors by Emma Frisch. The book, published this year by Ten Speed Press, is an engaging, gorgeous treasure that is sure to make its new owner the happiest camp cook around your parts.
And I wish that camp cook was me. You see, as the magazine’s food & drink editor, my main approach to the West is through its diverse cuisine, whether that be fine dining at a luxury Wyoming ranch resort, modern Native American cuisine, a multigenerational mom-and-pop shop slinging family recipes, or around a Big Bend backcountry campfire. I love it all, especially open-fire camp cooking after a long amble through the woods in my favorite Merrell hiking boots. It’s something I enjoy sharing with friends, with family, and with the kids in the Cub Scouts den I lead.
Parting with a physical edition of Feast by Firelight — it’s OK, I have a PDF — feels like parting with some of the joy that comes with grilling at my family’s cabin in New Mexico or bringing together a smorgasbord to please even the finickiest of knee-biters during a Scout trip. Frisch’s Feast by Firelight is that kind of book.
Take the recipe for foil-packet salmon with lemon, thyme, and blueberry (shared below): In less than 15 minutes, you can be savoring fish that carries tart and bright herbaceous flavors using a tried-and-true camp cooking trick. There’s no need to fuss over fresh blueberries — the recipe explicitly calls for either fresh or frozen. Or perhaps the Chile-Lime Festival Corn With Feta and Cilantro, based on the most luscious grilled corn on the cob Frisch says she’s has ever tasted. The corn is slathered with a creamy chile-lime sauce of yogurt, mayonnaise, and red pepper flakes carrying heat and tang. I don’t want to forget Ayla’s Lemon-Olive Oil Thumbprint Cookies, an Italian-inspired protein-packed sweet and easy treat named after Frisch’s daughter.
But not all the recipes in Feast by Firelight are so simple or so quick. The book offers something for everyone’s palate and diet, reflecting Frisch’s expertise in outdoor cooking and her appeal to readers of all skill levels. Frisch is the co-founder of first-class glamping outfit Firelight Camps. She appeared on season 10 of Food Network Star. But her bona fides go back much, much further. Her Italian mother, a home cook, was renowned for her dinner parties — dinner parties that her mother was able to enjoy due to smart planning. As Frisch recalls ahead of the Fire Licked Skirt Steak With Mamma’s Salsa Verde recipe: “Almost everything is made ahead of time because she wants to enjoy her own party.’ ... When I’m camping, I also want to relax at dinner.” Although the steak is seasoned with only salt and pepper, the sauce, based on a family recipe, is a refined condiment of anchovies, capers, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and more, easily produce in advanced. The dish, as noted in the book, is gluten-free.
A biscuit recipe inspired by her time training as a backcountry guide is vegetarian. The story behind the dish evokes a trepidation-turned-excitement experience almost every wilderness camper can relate to: “I awoke one morning before sunrise to banging and shuffling sounds — I was certain it was a bear. I peeked out from my tent, ready to brace myself but instead found our leader preparing biscuits from scratch, hoping to have them ready before the rest of us were up.” Even this recipe includes shortcuts and tips to give the cook time to enjoy the outdoors — food and all.
That is, after all, the point: giving readers a view of the culinary possibilities without taking up the valuable, cherished time that would otherwise go to walking in the woods, plotting cautionary measures in case that really is a bear clanking about the campsite, and gazing at the night sky — all the while providing readers with the tools to up their culinary game. Frisch shares tips for lighting and maintaining a campfire, charcoal grill, and camp stove. Need help with packing a cooler better? Want to rustle up your own condiments? How about lists for pre-outing prep? Rather not worry about menu planning? Feast by Firelight has it all, setting the gold standard for the culinary genre of outdoor cooking.
Whether you’re new to camping and campfire cooking, confident in your skills and want to expand your repertoire, or curious about how to elevate a glamping experience with restaurant-quality courses, Feast by Firelight is the ideal recipe collection for you. Now, excuse me while I print recipes from the PDF, lace up my Merrells, pack the car, and head to the woods. Instead of s’mores, I’ll be cooking up Frisch’s molten lava campfire brownies in orange cups. It will be a glorious night in middle-of-nowhere Texas.
Click here to enter for a chance to win a copy of Feast by Firelight. Scroll down for a recipe from Frisch’s book.
Foil-Packet Salmon With Lemon, Thyme, and Blueberry
Foil packets are one of the best — and easiest — ways to prepare juicy, flavorful salmon. I created this recipe with Coley Gaffney, my cast mate on Food Network Star, as part of a multicourse “dinner and a movie” event at Firelight Camps. We paired this dish with a documentary about wild salmon — The Breach — projected on the canvas of our lobby tent. In this dish, tart blueberries and honey are muddled together to create a violet-colored sauce that elevates the toothsome wild salmon. You can also substitute a spoonful of Basil–Sunflower Seed Pesto or Mamma’s Salsa Verde for the blueberry sauce.
¼ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus 2 lemons, each cut into 6 thin slices
4 (6-ounce) wild salmon fillets, frozen (see Note)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 thyme sprigs
In a lidded jar, combine the blueberries, honey, and lemon juice. Use the back of a spoon to gently smash and muddle the blueberries with the honey and lemon juice. Seal the jar tightly and then chill for up to 3 days.
Put four 12-inch-square sheets of aluminum foil on a work surface. Lay 3 lemon slices, with edges overlapping like dominoes, in the center of each foil sheet and top with a frozen salmon fillet. Season the salmon with the salt and lightly dust with pepper. Top each salmon fillet with 2 thyme sprigs.
Fold up 2 sides of the foil to meet in the middle and fold the edges over each other to seal the top. Then fold the 2 open ends of the foil to seal the packet. Seal the salmon packets in a zip-top bag and then chill for up to 24 hours.
Fire the grill to medium heat and position the grill grate 4 inches above the coals.
Using tongs, place the foil packets over direct heat and cook for 8 minutes. Using two forks, open the foil seal along the top, allowing the steam to escape and preventing the salmon from overcooking. Use a thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 140 degrees. An easier way to check for doneness is with a fork; the salmon should be firm and easily flake apart. (If you see white juice seeping out—a protein called albumin—it’s overcooked. But don’t worry, the blueberry syrup will moisten the fillet.)
Serve the salmon directly from the foil — fewer plates to clean! — and spoon the blueberries over the top. Store leftovers in an airtight container, chilled, for up to 1 day.
(Note: Frozen seafood is oftentimes fresher than “fresh” seafood. When handled properly, it has been frozen within hours of harvest, preserving both the quality and flavor of the fish at its peak. Ask your fishmonger where the seafood is from and when it was harvested, or purchase directly from an online buying club such as Wild for Salmon, Alaska Gold, and Vital Choice. Your freezer will be stocked with last-minute meals!)
Recipe reprinted and adapted with permission from Feast by Firelight, text and illustrations © 2018 by Emma Frisch. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs © 2018 by Christina Holmes. Feast by Firelight is available for purchase online at Amazon.com and other retailers.
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