Woodfired pizzas – our current top 6!
When students come on our woodfired oven courses, they’ll often start by calling the ovens a pizza oven. Our first lesson of the day is it’s not a pizza oven, it’s an oven and you can cook everything in them, not just pizzas! However there’s no getting away from the fact that they do make the best woodfired pizzas ever so in no particular order, here are our Top Six.
- Margherita. The classic of all woodfired pizzas but so simple everything has to be perfect. Named for Queen Margherita of Italy and reflecting the red, white and green of the Italian flag, its toppings are San Marzano tomatoes, buffala mozzarella and fresh basil. Finished off with a sprinkling of salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, that’s all there is to it. We protect the fresh basil underneath finely shredded mozzarella so that it doesn’t scorch in the heat of the oven although some people put theirs on when the pizza comes out of the oven so it’s still fresh.
- Fennel, lemon, courgette and capers. Super fresh and very savoury this is one is for those who don’t like tomatoey woodfired pizzas. Make sure the fennel is cut very finely and then tossed in a little olive oil to help it cook and prevent it scorching. The lemon slices need to be cut very thinly with a sharp knife too so you just get a hit of citrus and you’re not chewing through the thick skin. We use a potato peeler to take off super-thin strips of courgette and then some very thin slices or red onion tosed in olive oil to stop them scorching. A sprinkle of crumbled mozzarella or feta over the top and a little freshly ground black pepper and you’re good to go.
- Ham and cheese with red onion. Like the perfect sandwich when you’re off walking over the moors, this one has stacks of flavour and grilled cheese as an added bonus. We use very thin slices of home cooked ham, very thin shreds of red onion tossed in a little olive oil and grated mature Cheddar for extra oomph. Finish with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper; difficult to beat!
- Our village pub, the Steam Packet, have started making pizzas; not woodfired pizzas but still very good. A favourite when we go there is there chicken and pesto. The vibrant green basily pesto is spread over the base, then a hit of garlic oil, very thin strips of raw chicken breast and extra virgin oil on top with seasoning before it heads to the oven. Slivers of Parmesan cheese on top when it comes out and that’s a good night out in Kingswear especially with a lovely view over the river!
- Pissaladiere. Not technically Italian, this thicker dough with super slow cooked and sweet onions is a really great way to feed a group. Topped with salty anchovies and black olives, it’s proved a winner from our Wood Fired Flat Breads & Pancakes book. French by origin although when we were looking for pissaladiere in Provence, there was very little to choose except pizzas!
6. Chocolate and Banana. Not normally a fan of fruit on pizzas (think pineapple…!) however a sweetened dough with a topping of chocolate (Nutella works fine) and sliced ripe bananas is a fun way to finish a pizza party. Cook slower than you would do for regular pizzas in case the sugars burn.
Whatever your toppings, make sure your oven is consistently hot, your pizza toppings are all ready to go, you’re well practised in advance in case anything sticks to the peel and that you have fun while you’re cooking for your friends.
Have a look at our other blog post – our step by step guide to making a perfect wood fired pizza and also check out our youtube video. Oh – and let us know your favourite pizza toppings; we’re always looking for new flavour combos!