Harvesting Nature Supper Club

Harvesting Nature Supper Club

Article and recipe contributed by Editor in Chief J. Townsend. Photographs by J. Deardorff.

Sitting down with your friends and family to enjoy the fresh fish and wild game procured by your own hands is often the apex of the outdoor experience. For many, this is why we hunt and fish, outside of curing our own primal urge for adventure. Within these meals, we honor the animals we have harvested by using our culinary skills to create delicious dishes and properly using the meat they provided.

It seems as though there has been a movement that is changing the dynamics of the modern hunter and angler. People are more curious about their food. They want to know the origins, and as a result, have become interested in hunting and fishing. Many of these people see the value in harvesting your own meat from both wild game and wild fish. So here lies the underlying question. How does a person begin learning about this lifestyle properly?

Someone who is knowledgeable must be willing to teach them. This could be in the form of reading a book about hunting or researching credible sources on the internet. For me, I believe that it is my responsibility to teach people directly about the lifestyle of hunting and fishing.

There is also another movement which has been long brewing and is also food centric. People are beginning to grow gardens more frequently than before. The rise of the urban home gardener has begun, which opens up many other platforms of conversation and chances for education. Many are recognizing that home grown produce and locally sourced products are not only cheaper but more sustainable.

The culmination of these two fields of thought resound deeply in me. I like to take vegetables from my garden, the wild meat I harvested, and locally sourced ingredients and combine delicious meals. Naturally, as in any dinner setting, the conversation turns to food and provides the perfect platform for education. As a result, we created the concept of the Harvesting Nature Supper Club.

place setting-1

You ask, what is this Supper Club? In its simplest form, it is an invite only dinner where the food prepared is harvested from the wild, grown at home, or sourced very locally. We invite people who wish to educate themselves on food while providing a comfortable and social atmosphere. On a larger scale, it creates a platform to properly teach people about the experiences of hunting, fishing, preparing wild fish/game, growing your own food, and sourcing sustainable ingredients. In this dinner, we get to the root of what keeps us alive… our food.

We recently transformed this idea into a reality and held one such dinner which I deem as an absolute success. We had about ten people over to our house that evening and served some delicious food.

For our first course we enjoyed tomato bisque with a roasted onion puree followed by a pair of wild fish and wild game pizzas. The first pizza was topped with smoked tuna, green bell pepper, jalapenos, onions, gouda, mozzarella, and a homemade red sauce. The second pie was prepared with Whitetail Deer pepperoni, mozzarella, tomato slices, and fresh lemon basil atop the same homemade red sauce. For dessert, we had organic strawberries sautéed with balsamic vinegar over vanilla bean ice cream.

Smoked Tuna Pizza

Now that I have your mouth watering, here is a little teaser with the recipe for the smoked tuna pizza.

Yield: 2 pizzas

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

2 2/3 cups flour
1 packet quick rise yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup warm water

Preparation:

  1. Add the flour, yeast, and salt into a food processor and mix for 30 seconds
  2. Turn on food processor and slowly pour your oil
  3. Slowly pour your warm water. You will see the dough bounce around. Add water or flour if needed, little by little
  4. Stretch out plastic wrap on your counter
  5. Wet your hands, scoop the flour out of the food processor, and place it on the plastic wrap
  6. Work the dough out into an elongated shape within the plastic wrap
  7. Fold the right side of the plastic wrap towards the center and pull back the plastic wrap
  8. Fold the left side of the plastic wrap on top of you other fold and pull back the plastic wrap
  9. Repeat this several time
  10. Wet your hands again and work the dough into a ball
  11. Place the ball into a bowl and allow to sit, covered, in a warm place for 20 – 30 minutes
  12. Remove from the bowl, punch down, and cut in half
  13. Shape each half with your hands to fit you pizza pan
  14. Allow to rise in the pan for 10 minutes
  15. Add your sauce and toppings
  16. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown

Pizza Sauce

Ingredients:

3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
5 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fresh chopped lemon basil
2 tsp fresh minced oregano
2 tsp fresh minced thyme
2 tsp fresh minced rosemary
1 tbsp and 2 tsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Bring a large skillet to heat over a medium high flame
  2. Add olive oil and garlic
  3. Sautee garlic for 1 minute then add all of the other ingredients
  4. Allow to simmer for 2 – 5 minutes, stirring frequently
  5. Remove from heat and place the sauce in batches, if needed, into a blender
  6. Pulse until smooth (Don’t freak out that the sauce will be a little pink. That is the seeds)

Smoked Tuna

Smoked Tuna

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup of kosher salt
2 quarts of water
3 lbs fresh tuna sliced into 1-2” thick strips
Ice

Preparation:

  1. Bring a medium saucepan to heat over a high flame
  2. Add the water and allow to boil
  3. Stir in the salt, sugar, and Cajun seasoning
  4. Turn off heat once the salt and sugar are dissolved
  5. Immediately remove from heat and add ice
  6. Continue to add ice until a cold temperature is reached.
  7. Add Tuna and allow to brine for 3-4 hours
  8. Heat smoker to 200 degrees
  9. Smoke fish for 45 minutes on each side using a mild fruit wood.

The Toppings

1 green bell pepper, chopped
½ purple onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, deseeded and diced
2 cups of shredded Gouda cheese
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese

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