Instead of more than 100 Boy Scouts and their families, Lisa Williams of Plano only had to please the appetites of three judges before being named winner of the Redwood Creek Wines’ Southwest Regional Campfire Classic cookoff May 3 during Mayfest at Trinity Park in Fort Worth.
And I’m glad I was one of the judges. After all, what better place to get a taste of gourmet outdoor cooking and learn new recipes than along the banks of the Trinity River with four expert outdoor cooks?
Williams said she annually holds a Thanksgiving campout where she cooks 20 turkeys, complete with all the trimmings, for about 100 Boy Scouts and their parents, but it was her serving of Swordfish A Roux Turtle Packs that won the event over three other semifinalists.
In addition to a $1,000 first-place check, Williams earned a trip to New York to compete against four other regional winners in the finals June 26. The finals winner will earn a $10,000 check, and an additional $5,000 donation will be presented to a national park of the winner’s choice.
Allison Loesch of Katy placed second at the Fort Worth event with her serving of Poached Catfish Fillets With Mushroom-Herbed Rice and won $500. The other contestants were Julie Hession of Las Vegas, Nev., and Barry Williams of San Antonio.
The four contestants cooked their selections over wood coals, using grills, skillets and/or Dutch ovens. Each contestant’s recipe was paired with a Redwood Creek wine. Williams’ winning swordfish dish was cooked in foil packets and was complemented with a sauce and asparagus.
Williams’ winning recipe:
Swordfish A Roux Turtle Packs
■ 1 4-6-ounce Swordfish steak
■ 4-8 asparagus spears
■ Extra virgin olive oil
■ 1 tablespoon cumin
■ 2 tablespoons lime zest
■ BBQ steak seasoning to taste
■ Salt & pepper to taste
■ 8 ounces marinated roasted red peppers
■ 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
■ 3 tablespoons flour
■ 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
■ 1 tablespoon chicken Bouillon paste
■ Heavy-duty aluminum foil
■ Sauce pan or skillet
■ Potato masher or food chopper
■ Serving spoon
■ Vegetable peeler
■ Fireproof BBQ tongs
■ Narrow bulb whisk
■ Small pairing knife
1. On a 12-inch square of aluminum foil, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and place one Swordfish steak atop. Drizzle fish with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, steak seasoning, cumin and lime zest. Flip fish over and repeat on the other side.
2. Surround and top the steak with the asparagus spears and fold all corners of aluminum foil to center. Seal “Turtle” packet by crimping together the edges of the foil. Each family member can make his own packet. When the coals/firewood have settled to a glow, place all packets directly onto the firewood/coals. While the steaks are cooking, prepare the red pepper pesto by drizzling extra virgin olive oil on roasting peppers in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes until tender. Clean off blackened skin. Chop in processor and keep in a jar until ready to use.
4. In a hot skillet or sauce pan, melt the butter, add the flour and whisk together for a minute or two creating a “roux.” Add the chicken Bouillon, whisk again and then the broth. Continue stirring until thickened. Add the red pepper pesto to the gravy, using the masher to incorporate the peppers if necessary, and stir together.
5. After 25-30 minutes in the fire (depending on the heat), the steaks should be done and the asparagus tender. Use tongs to lift each packet from the fire. Open each packet carefully and smother in the Red Pepper Gravy. Enjoy!
Estimated cooking time: 45 minutes
Wine pairing: Redwood Creek 2006 Pinot Grigio