For women especially it is paramount that no matter our age or how chaotic our lives get with work and family, that we take time to cultivate and maintain those close bonds of friendship through the years. For years my girlfriends Leona, Jacqueline and I every summer would take a weekend road trip to Northern Idaho to spend time on the Salmon River fishing for steelhead trout.
We would pack Leona’s SUV to the brim with fishing gear and groceries. We would stop frequently to fish small ponds along the way, picnic, stop in picturesque towns to sip coffee and visit the quaint gift shops for quirky treasures. Once we got to our destination, a beautiful log cabin on the river that we rented every year, we would sit under the stars by the fire and gossip for hours. On Saturday morning we were up at 4am to meet our river guide for a full day steelhead fishing excursion. Each time we used the same outfitters company and we always had the same guide, a nice red headed man named Shane. He would have us loaded and in the boat on the water by 5am and he always had a propane heater and a large thermos of coffee for us. Three adult professional women bundled up and huddled around the heater in the boat with their lines in the water each hoping to be the first to get a bite. The first to get a bite was awarded the honor to have their catch cleaned by the last one to get a bite. Watching the most breathtaking sunrise over the majestic mountains of Northern Idaho, these trips made such beautiful memories that I will cherish forever.
Through the years, Leona, Jacqueline and I were always there for each other no matter, empty wallet or full purse. Every year without fail we took this trip, no matter how many other crazy adventures we would have; during a year that trip was our ritual. Leona had a Masters in Forestry so going on this adventure with her was like having your own personalized botany lesson, Jacqueline is a nurse so we were not short of first aid care if one of us should end up on the wrong end of the hook, and with me being a chef, the three of us knew we’d never starve. After the day on the river, Shane would pack up our daily catches for safe travel home. The best catch of the day however became dinner that night. I would dress the salmon with herbs and vegetables and put it in a foil pouch on the camp fire and whip up some nice homemade aioli for dipping. Then we three old girls would have beautiful evening in the forest bonding over a healthy feast and a bottle of wine.
The recipe we are going to share with you is quite versatile and can be cooked on a camp fire, on a grill, or in the oven. It can be made and served it in one large pouch or cut up and prepared it in individual serving pouches—either way, it’s splendid…
Cook Anywhere Salmon
1 2-3 pound fillet of salmon with the skin on
1 medium yellow onion sliced in rings
1 bag of fresh spinach rinsed
2 bulbs of fresh fennel chopped
1 bag of baby carrots
1 lemon sliced
1 orange sliced
2 pods of garlic cloves, still in the pod but the top removes to expose the cloves
½ cup fresh chives chopped
½ c fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ cup dry white wine
Place 2 sheets of foil lengthwise over a baking sheet leaving about 3 inched of length on each side. They should overlap horizontally.
Place spinach, onions, fennel, garlic. And carrots on the foil. Then place the salmon on the bed of vegetables skin side down. Next cover the salmon with chopped herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the wine over the salmon and then fold the foil into a pouch making a sealed tent at the top.
Bake at 350 degrees in the oven or on your grill or in the coals of your campfire for 25-30 minutes. Open and enjoy, Dip your salmon and vegetables in lovely fresh made aioli.
Now, for the aioli…
This recipe is one that I acquired while living in Egypt, as mayonnaise was not available. I still do it traditionally with a pestle and mortar but you can do it with a whisk, in a blender or a food processor.
2 egg yolks
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
In a large bowl place egg yolks and whip until well scrambled, next add in minced garlic and then drizzle in olive oil and continue to whip until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add lemon juice, slat and pepper to taste and refrigerate.
Image via The Yard