I like nothing better than working up a sweat by hiking or snow-shoeing through the great outdoors.
But at the end of that, when I’m spent, starved and sweaty, I long for a hot shower (with adequate water pressure) and a real bed (preferably with fine linens).
Which is probably why I confess I’ve only camped once in my life.
And I had to be sweet-talked into it.
That’s why I was happy to find that “The Great Outdoors Cookbook” (Oxmoor House) by the editors of Sunset magazine, of which I received a review copy, is made for die-hard campers, as well as folks like me who’d rather do their outdoor cooking in their own backyard.
The book is divided into recipes for “Campfires,” “Home Fires,” and “Inspired Fires” (when you dig pits and such). There are even tips for foraging and doing a seafood boil on the beach.
“Halibut Kebabs with Grilled Bread and Pancetta” is as easy as it gets. Chunks of halibut are quickly marinated in olive oil and fresh rosemary before being threaded on long skewers with pancetta and bread cubes.
The skewers are grilled for about 6 minutes until the bread gets crisp and toasty like mini crostini, and the fish is bathed in the smoky, sweet fat from the pancetta.
If you have a few more skewers, thread some cherry tomatoes on them and grill those, too. They make a dynamite accompaniment.
Then, tuck into a taste of the great outdoors — without having to journey far at all.
Halibut Kebabs with Grilled Bread and Pancetta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon EACH salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds boned and skinned halibut, cut into 2-inch chunks
4 cups 1 1/2-inch cubes crusty bread, such as ciabatta
3 ounces pancetta, sliced paper-thin (see Note)
You’ll need four 10-inch metal skewers.
Heat a grill to medium (350 to 450 degrees).
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Add halibut and bread. Toss to coat, then set aside 5 minutes.
If the pancetta is rolled, unroll into strips. Skewer one end of a pancetta strip, then alternate fish and bread cubes on the skewer, weaving (and skewering) pancetta between them. Repeat with 3 remaining skewers. Drizzle a little of the oil remaining in the bowl over the skewered bread cubes.
Grill kebabs, turning frequently, until fish is cooked through and bread is charred in places, about 6 minutes.
Note: If you can’t get pancetta, use very thinly sliced bacon. Prosciutto is too lean and will burn.
Per serving: 516 calories, 42g protein, 32g fat (6.9g saturated), 22g carbohydrates (1.2g fiber); 1,117mg sodium, 66mg cholesterol
Adapted From “The Great Outdoors Cookbook” by the editors of Sunset magazine
More Sunset Magazine Recipes: Delfina Restaurant’s Pizza Dough