Moss-steamed trout

Our friends at Woodlore share their recipe for steaming fish in the outdoors – all you need is moss, a good campfire and some lemony herbs

Images: raymears.com

Images: raymears.com

The method of steaming your food between two layers of moss is 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 means minimal washing up), and is very hygienic. But the greatest benefit of this technique is the way that it leaves you feeling truly immersed in the outdoors. This dish requires just two ingredients – trout and wood sorrel, the latter being a pleasant lemony stuffing that works well with fish. 

1. Firstly, prepare a hot fire with a good bed of embers, preferably of oak.  

2. Forage a handful of wood sorrel (make sure you are confident in identifying the plant first).   

3. Collect two large handfuls of sphagnum moss, taking care to keep them intact. Remove any leaf litter from the moss. 

4. Gut and clean your fish, then stuff it 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 the fish on top of the moss. Cover the fish with the second layer of moss, so that the soil and roots are facing upwards. Leave the fish to steam.

6. If the fire has been prepared correctly, you should see steam rising from the moss. After 30 minutes of steaming, check on the fish and turn it if it’s 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 and flesh should slip away from the bone. Remove the fish from the fire and peel away the skin. Spoon the flesh away from the bone and enjoy with a pinch of wood sorrel.

You can learn various cooking techniques, alongside other bushcraft skills on a Woodlore course; raymears.com

Discover more wild food recipes in issue 4 of Ernest Journal, on sale now.

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