Wood-fired pizza ovens (or garden ovens as you may know them) can do so much more than just cook pizza with a real flame. Outdoor ovens can become the focal point for socialising in the garden, with the pizza oven at the centre of all that goes on, whilst also providing ambience, warmth and amazing aromas.
Despite these attractions, some people still dismiss wood-fired ovens as being ‘only for pizza’. If that’s you, think again! Wood-fired pizza ovens can create amazingly cooked food of many different types; not just pizza! Those who have explored the many culinary options that cooking outdoors provides have learned just how succulent, flavoursome and appetising food can be, when cooked the wood-oven way.
To whet your appetite, we’ve created a top 5 dishes to cook in your garden oven – or pizza oven, if you still want to call it that! Perhaps you’ll change your mind on that point, once you’ve read about some of the dishes that you could rustle up in your wood-fired oven, throughout the year!
Top 5 Dishes To Cook In Your Wood-Fired Garden Oven
- Salmon and Jersey Royals
Cooking salmon in a wood-fired oven allows it to absorb the flavours that could emanate from your choice of wood, whether that is olive wood, or perhaps something adventurous such as cherry. Salmon cooks swiftly in a ‘pizza oven’ and can emerge with a beautiful golden colour and crust. Popping some Jersey Royal new potatoes in a baking dish will also give you some tenderly cooked accompaniments to your salmon
This is actually the favourite of Valoriani UK’s Dino Manciocchi. Steak is very simple to cook in a wood-fired oven, with just a little brushing of olive oil and some seasoning. Steak can be loaded on to a grill, over a suitable pan for your outdoor oven, and allowed to cook to your taste. You could also throw in some crayfish, if you wish to be more exotic!
- Sea Bass Puttanesca
Stuffing a sea bass with a mixture of olives, capers, anchovies, crushed herbs and olive oil, brushing the fish with olive oil, and then wrapping it all up in tin foil, is all you need to do to create amazing sea bass puttanesca in your wood oven.
- Roast Loin of Pork Cooked with Spinach Leaves
Doing a little prep the day before, by creating a dressing of rosemary, olive oil and garlic will give you an amazing piece of pork loin when it comes out of the ‘pizza oven’. If you dress it with spinach leaves, before popping it into your wood-fired garden oven, you’ll create something even more tasty.
- Chocolate and Orange Bread and Butter Pudding
Yes, you really can cook this dish in your wood oven, buttering four slices of bread with butter and honey, and four more with butter and marmalade. Add sultanas, currants, chopped cherries and chocolate chips and then beat eggs with sugar and add gently boiled milk to this mixture. Whisk it, add cinnamon and pour over the bread and fruit. If you cover these ingredients with foil, then uncover and allow the dish to brown, you will have a fabulous bread and butter pudding. Your neighbours will hardly believe you cooked this in your pizza oven!
Open your mind to what your pizza oven can do, when you are cooking with wood, and your taste buds will venture on a voyage of discovery. We have hundreds of different recipes for wood-fired ovens, so when you’ve had a go at the five suggested here, seek out more!
You could honestly own a wood-fired pizza oven and never cook a single pizza, so if you love pizza, but your partner doesn’t, or vice versa, don’t despair. You can both cook things you love once you own a wood oven!