Fine dining, from a campfire
Zac Kellerman, the Livingston, Montana, chef and caterer, presents these recipes for camping and backcountry cooking.
Marsala Simmered Chicken Breast with Leeks, Thyme, and Cream with Tuscan Yukon Gold Potato Wedges
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Freshly ground black pepper
.5 cup marsala wine
.5 cups leeks (small dice white part only)
.5 cups mushrooms (sliced)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (roughly chopped)
.3 cup heavy cream
Season chicken with Kosher salt and black pepper. Add avocado oil to your cast iron pan and allow to come to a shimmer over medium high heat. Sear chicken breast on both sides. Remove chicken breast from pan and add leeks, mushrooms, and fresh thyme stir well and “sweat” for a couple of minutes. Place the chicken breast back into the pan, add the marsala and cover the pan with aluminum foil and move to lower heat in order to cook through. Once just shy of being completely cooked through, remove aluminum foil and add cream. Simmer until sauce consistency, adjust seasoning and serve alongside Yukon Gold potato wedges, and garnish with freshly chopped parsley
4 Yukon Gold potatoes
2 tablespoons Kosher salt (divided)
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
.5 teaspoon garlic powder
.5 teaspoon oregano
.25 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
.25 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cut Yukon Gold potatoes in to wedges. In a medium size sauce pot cover potato wedges with cold water and add 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil and cook through. Drain potato wedges and toss with olive oil and Tuscan seasonings. Return to a hot skillet and allow to slightly brown for a couple of minutes.
Shrimp and Lobster Cakes with Mango Salsa
8 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp tails (raw)
8 ounces cleaned lobster tail meat (raw)
1 egg (beaten)
2 tablespoons shallots (minced)
2 tablespoons red bell pepper (minced)
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
.25 cup bread crumbs
Before you head out on your camping trip, prepare the shrimp in a food processor fitted with the bowl and cutting blade. Add shrimp and lobster tails and pulse briefly 3 times. Using a rubber spatula scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. In a mixing bowl, add the shrimp/lobster mixture and add the egg, shallots, parsley, red bell pepper, Old Bay seasoning, and bread crumbs. Mix well and form into 5 or 6 small cakes. Heat avocado oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the cakes to the skillet and saute for a about 3 minutes before turning the cakes over and allowing to cook through for an additional 3 minutes or so or until cooked through. Serve with mango salsa.
1 large mango (peeled and cut into small dice)
1 scallion (white part only-minced)
1 small serrano pepper (seeded and minced)
1 teaspoon red bell pepper (minced)
1 teaspoon cilantro (chopped)
.5 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar
.5 teaspoon lime juice
Combine all ingredients on a small bowl and mix thoroughly
Honey Mustard Seared Salmon with Toasted Quinoa, Kale, Sweet Peppers, and Tamari Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
1.75 cups vegetable stock
1 cup kale (finely chopped)
.5 cup tri-color sweet peppers
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
.25 cup cilantro (chopped)
2 teaspooons Sambol Olek (a red chili-garlic condiment)
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
.5 teaspoon Kosher salt
.5 cup Tarmari seasoned pumpkin seeds
In a medium size saute pan over medium high heat add quinoa and by rapidly shaking the pan allow the quinoa to “toast” for about 5-7 minutes. The quinoa will take a faintly darker color and will release a slightly “nutty” aroma. At this point, in a separate sauce pan add the quinoa to the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer cover and allow to simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 7 minutes or so. In a large mixing bowl toss the cooled quinoa with the finely chopped kale, sauted sweet peppers, seasoned rice vinegar, chopped cilantro, Sambol Oelek, lime juice, tamari, salt, and the tamari seasoned pumpkin seeds.
4 5-6 ounce salmon filets
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of Kosher salt
In a small bowl, combine the Dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice, pinch of Kosher salt and mix well.
Season salmon filets with Kosher salt. Heat the avocado oil in a cast iron skillet until it begins to shimmer. Add the salmon filets to the hot oil and allow to sear for about 3 minutes. Turn the salmon filets and brush with the honey-mustard. Allow the filets to finish in the hot skillet for an additional 3 minutes or so until they are a perfect medium. Serve with the finished quinoa.
ABOUT THE CHEF ZAC KELLERMAN
Zac Kellerman, one of Montana's premier chefs, specializes in cooking on the range, that is, the wide-open range of the great American West.
Ever since his first cooking job at age 15 when he was hooked by the excitement and pride of cooking well, Zac has felt most at home serving people his delicious food. He studied chemistry at the University of Louisville in his hometown, and later at the University of Montana.
While working at a lodge in Glacier National Park, Zac realized that what he really wanted to do was become a chef. The artistic impulse had grabbed him, and food was his medium.
Zac has since established his reputation as one of the best-known caterers in Montana, recognized for his gracious ability to accommodate challenging requests from clients large and small, while maintaining the highest standards of quality. He prepares custom feasts for those who appreciate food that is as honest and grand as the West.