Wood-fired oven - what is great to make in one?

A friend has invited us over to try out his wood-fired oven. We are doing pizzas for dinner and then the next day he has offered oven space to cook other things. Any suggestions for some great things to try at either the super-hot (800-1000 degree) or regular heat (450-350) temps? I am looking for things people have actual experience cooking in a wood fire oven. Thank you!



dymnyno July 8, 2013
I often cook a whole chicken in mine. Salmon is delicious (and cooks very fast). Peeled shrimp tossed in a little olive oil and herbs is fabulous. Beets and potatoes buried in the coals are wonderful. You can also use a small grill in the oven and scrape the hot coals under it and grill steak or meat of choice. You can also get a lot of good ideas from the cookbook "Seven Fires".
monkeymom July 7, 2013
To report back: Pizzas were amazing. Buffalo mozzarella and fresh tomato was the best. Also good were fontina with mushrooms and caramelized onion and a fresh ricotta with potato and rosemary. The next morning the oven was around 425 and we tried some puff pastry tarts with frangipane and nectarines. Also great because the tarts cooked perfectly (well crusted bottoms). Later in the day when the oven was around 350 I did a pork shoulder roast (5-6lbs) with lots of garlic in an enclosed le crueset oven for 3 hours. It was tender and succulent cooked in its own juices. Other folks cooked vertically roasted chicken, pork ribs wrapped in foil, meat loaf and a chocolate cake at the lower temp. Great fun!
Doug D. July 5, 2013
The wood fired oven is not a smoker. You might get a little smoke flavor, but possibly not any. After I cook pizza in mine, I clean out all of the coals and ashes and bake bread the next morning, then roasts. One of my favorites is a cast iron skillet with cubed potatoes in the bottom, a layer of italian sausage, a layer of thin sliced onions topped with a split and flattened chicken. It cooks in about 30 minutes at 350.
paseo July 5, 2013
Roast a shoulder of lamb in the cooling oven but you need to know the oven's idiosyncrasies - like how long it takes to really cool down - they are all different. We cook a whole fish sometimes but watch the temp. An infrared thermometer is whimpy but helpful to monitor the temp.
Sam1148 July 5, 2013
A fish in a salt dome would be good just from presentation aspect; I'm not sure the wood fire would add any thing taste wise. But maybe---since the temp would be very hot and quick and the fish protected.
monkeymom July 5, 2013
Thanks guys. Any advice for things as the oven cools down? Whole fish? Shellfish? Vegetables?
pierino July 5, 2013
Once oven temp gets down to about 500F you can think about making paella. The wood smoke will only improve it. If you cover the pan with foil you can add clams or mussels toward the end and cook just until they open. Should also get the "soccarat" that crisp but not burned bottom. I'd recommend beginning it on a gas burner and finishing it in the wood oven.
pierino July 5, 2013
Pizza yes! You can riff on that with calzones or empanadas---but keep an eye on them because at 800F this stuff cooks fast.
stagneskitchen July 5, 2013
Finish a steak or a chicken in it. Nice sear or crispy chicken skin. Or bake some fresh bread.
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