In this edition of our outdoor cooking guides we focus on the method of steaming your food between two layers of moss. While not often seen, this technique happens to be one of the simplest ways of cooking in the outdoors, particularly with fish. It requires very little in the way of utensils or equipment (which also means minimal washing up), and is very hygienic.
To us though, the greatest benefit of using this method is the way that it leaves you feeling truly immersed in the outdoors. The act of reeling in a fresh catch and cooking it just minutes later over the campfire, using little more than the materials nature provides us with, gives a profound feeling of self reliance and respect for nature that is hard to match.
This particular dish requires just two ingredients – trout and wood sorrel, the latter being a very pleasant stuffing when working with fish. In order to cook this meal, you must first prepare a hot fire with a good bed of embers, preferably of oak.
- 2 x trout
- 1 x handful of wood sorrel
1. Collect two large handfuls of sphagnum moss, taking care to keep them intact.
2. Remove any obvious leaf litter from the moss.
3. Collect a handful of wild sorrel (make sure that you are confident in identifying the plant first).
4. Gut and clean both fish, then stuff them with the sorrel (at this stage you can use the clean side of the moss as a place to prepare the fish).
5. Once your fire is ready, place the first layer of moss on top of the embers. Place both fish on top of the moss.
6. Cover the fish with the second layer of moss, so that the soil and roots are facing upwards.
7. Leave the fish to steam. When the fire has been prepared correctly, you should see copious amounts of steam rising from the moss.
8. After 30 minutes of steaming, check on the fish periodically and turn them if they are not cooking on top. A simple way of testing if the fish is cooked is to gently press your thumb against the skin; when the fish is ready, the skin should slip away from the flesh easily.
9. Remove the fish from the fire and peel away the rest of the skin. Spoon the flesh away from the bone.
10. Enjoy with a pinch of sorrel.