There’s something magical to me, some sort of alchemy that happens when you cook over a simple wood fire. I know it can seem unpredictable and perhaps daunting to cook with fire, without dials and digital displays, but the flavour imparted to any ingredients cooked this way is unbeatable and I find it so grounding and soothing to move around the logs and embers and to hear that crackling of the burning wood. I shared this Campfire Mushrooms with Sherry & Garlic recipe back in the autumn and I’m thinking of gradually putting together a series of similar recipes as I think there’s so much more to outdoor cooking than burgers and sausages (although they definitely have a place!) and there’s nothing better than cooking over a fire out in the open air. I love to light a fire for a weeknight dinner, or a weekend breakfast so that we can enjoy the outdoors when the weather allows (and even sometimes when it doesn’t quite) – cooking over fire doesn’t need to be a complicated process.
It’s time for us to use up the end of last year’s leeks from our allotment as they’ve now started to send up flowers with the warming weather. Leeks are so versatile and I love to use them in soup bases, pies, or slow roast them like in this recipe to slather them on crusty bread. In this campfire recipe they are slowly cooked until soft and jammy before adding foraged, wild greens by the handful – whatever is around – to make a herby bed for the eggs to nestle in. At this time of year I like to use wild garlic, ground elder, and perhaps some nettles that I’ve almost pulverised (they can be a bit spiky even after blanching). Obviously make sure you know that what you’re foraging is edible, and make sure you’re clued up on the dangerous species to avoid. Check my foraging resources page if you want some guidance on how to forage confidently and safely!
For the leeks to cook slowly and to get that soft jammy sweetness that we’re after, the fire needs to not be too hot or you want to keep your pan at the edge so you can cook this dish really slowly. Alternatively, if you’re doing this at home for a barbecue, you can start the leeks off in a lidded pan on a very low heat and move on to the fire towards the end for the eggs. Then you still get that smokiness without the risk of cooking your veggies too quickly and losing that fudginess that you want.
Campfire Eggs with Leeks & Foraged Greens Recipe
- 2 eggs
- 1 leek (chopped first then washed very thoroughly as they can contain dirt and grit in between the layers)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 handfuls of foraged greens such as wild garlic, ground elder (also washed thoroughly)
- Toasted sourdough
- Slow cook the leeks in the butter over a low flame or at the edge of the fire so that they don’t cook too quickly. You can use a lid or cartouche (or both) at this point to keep the moisture trapped in. The key is to keep the temperature as low as possible and keep as much moisture in as you can.
- Once the leeks have reached the desired consistency (don’t rush this!) remove the lid/cartouche and add your wild, foraged greens and allow to wilt slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. This is where your smoky flavours will really be able to infuse into your veggies.
- Create two wells in the cooked leeks & greens and and drop in the eggs. Keep the temperature fairly low so that the eggs don’t burn on the bottom especially as you don’t want to stir things around at this point.
- Once the egg whites are cooked through, serve with toasted sourdough.
As always, do let me know what you think of the recipe in the comments below and I’d also love to know what kinds of things you like to cook over fire if that’s your kind of thing? What other campfire recipes might you like to see from me?
Subscribe to the Plot & Lane newsletter
If you would like to get some seasonal recipes and general inspiration for living more seasonally, growing your own and foraging, as well as hearing about upcoming events, do sign up to my monthly newsletters using the box below.