Pizza Oven Lovin’

26.06.24

What’s better in the summer than cooking outside? BBQ’s and pizza ovens are now so common for loads of families in the UK and US, we need to find some different recipes to make that aren’t just a pizza (although of course pizza is amazing, obvs love me a spicy pepperoni). There’s so much you can do, and the heat of the pizza oven is perfect for all sorts of other breads, meat, fish and veg! Maybe even a cheeky pud.

Fish

Seafood cooks really well in a pizza oven, especially shellfish like mussels and scallops. For my favourite moules mariniere, get a large pot with a lid into the pizza oven with a splash of olive oil and a finely chopped shallot and two cloves of sliced garlic. Leave in the oven for 3-4 minutes until the shallot begins to soften. Remove from the oven and throw in a large glass of white wine and 1kg of cleaned mussels. Pop the lid back on and slide the pan back into the pizza oven for 3-4 minutes so they can steam. When they’re all open, tip in 150ml double cream and swirl everything together with a big sprinkle of chopped parsley, and serve up with big chunks of crusty bread and some crispy fries.

If you’re ever in the shop and see a whole seabass on the fish counter, this is the perfect time to experiment! What I like to do is stuff the middle of the fish with slices of lemon and season well with salt and pepper, then lay the fish on a baking tray on top of more lemon slices. Give a drizzle of olive oil and bake in the hot pizza oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the flesh is opaque all the way through and the skin is crispy on top. If your fish is cooked properly, it will make removing the bones when you get stuck in really easy!

Meat

I LOVE a steak, especially a big juicy ribeye. The smoky flavour that it takes on from cooking in a pizza oven is the best bit, my mouth is actually starting to water while I write. Make sure your steak is at room temperature before you start to cook, then dry it with paper towels and season heavily with salt. Heat up a large cast iron pan (or a large strong baking tray if that’s all you’ve got) with a good layer of vegetable oil in the bottom for around 5 minutes until the oil starts to smoke slightly, then carefully lay your steak into the searing hot pan. Pop it back into the pizza oven for 2-3 minutes then flip your steak over and give a final few minutes – you should have a deep golden crust all over your steak. You may need to try and prop it up on the side to render out the fat on the edges! Leave to rest on a plate for atleast 10 minutes and carve it up.

Veg

Roasted broccoli has got to be one of the best BBQ sides out there – maybe aside from my crispy potato salad of course. Usually I’ll go for tenderstem, but you can just use some chunky florets if you prefer. Drizzle them with plenty of olive oil and season generously with salt, pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes, then pop on a tray in the pizza oven for a few minutes, turning occasionally until lightly charred. Zest over some lemon and add a squeeze of the juice, then finish with a final sprinkle of flaky sea salt and a scattering of toasted flaked almonds for the perfect side dish.

Pudding

Aside from the spuds, one of the things I look forward to most about big family BBQ’s and dinner parties is the desserts. If you really want to impress, chop up a ripe pineapple into long, thick fingers and pop into a heat proof baking dish. In a saucepan on the stove mix together butter, dark brown sugar, rum and a splash of pineapple juice, then bring to the boil while stirring constantly. Reduce until thickened and drizzle all over your pineapple slices, then slide your baking dish into the pizza oven for a few minutes until the pineapple is softened and the sauce is thick. Sprinkle over a few sea salt flakes and serve with a massive scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream and maybe even some toasted coconut flakes if you’re feeling fancy.