So, tonight’s menu calls for grilled fish with summer squash and asparagus. Now, you could cook those items separately on a grill, but why not streamline the process by cooking them in a packet? This process is much easier than you’d think, and the best part is that you cook these meals using your grill or oven, and it’s a convenient method for campfire meals.
To prepare packets:
- Take a sheet of heavy aluminum foil large enough to fold over the food you plan to put inside.
- Place food in the center and fold up the ends.
- Make a double fold where the ends meet.
- Fold up the sides to form an airtight packet. There should be enough room inside for the juices and heat to circulate.
The idea here is that the food inside the packet will cook in its juices.
Because of how packets cook, there must be enough liquid inside to create the steam for cooking the food. Water, broth, wine, fruit juices, vinegar all work to create this steam. Choosing something flavorful is also a key component of packet cooking. Add dry spices to the packet, making sure you compensate with more liquid to keep it from drying out. When the packet has cooked, the steam inside will be quite hot, so open carefully one end or puncture the packet with a fork before removing the contents. Remember that steam can be considerably hotter than boiling water, so it can burn you.
Once on the grill, keep a close eye on the packets. The direct heat of a burner is more than enough to burn food quickly, and since you can’t see inside, it’s best to be very careful. Packets need to be turned regularly and watched often. Charring on the outside is a good indicator of food burning inside. Keep packets away from high direct heat. Upper racks and cooler areas of the grill are best. Take extra precautions with the way packets are constructed. Try layering sliced onions above and below foods to create a barrier.
Packets are perfect for more than just side dishes. Complete meals can be assembled, allowing for easy preparation and flavor blending. Try packing fish fillets, onions, lemon slices, and vegetables along with herbs and spices to make an individual meal. You can even serve them right on a plate to open and enjoy. Because of the sealed environment, you won’t have to worry about foods become too dry, but be careful not to puncture the packets while cooking.
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