My husband is a good sport. He married a visionary, and I am not sure he fully understood what that meant when he married me. I constantly look at things from a different viewpoint than most other people. I tend to see the potential in something, and have a vision for what it could be. About five years ago, I imagined walking through the garden, picking vegetables as I went, and then assembling my harvest on a thinly rolled pizza dough. We would then cook our pizza right there in the herb garden, among the rhubarb and oregano plants in a wood-fired oven. I imagined garden parties with friends and family, standing next to the sheep pasture with a home brew in one hand and a wood-fired pizza in the other.
I gave my husband a book on building earth ovens for his birthday in October that year. Being an engineer, he studied his book all winter and even went online to investigate the intricacies of building outdoor ovens. What started as a simple earth oven, turned into an amazing work of art which involved fire brick, custom cut stone, a chimney, multiple bags of concrete, and hours of labor.
Several years into it, we have perfected making garden inspired pizzas. Granite our topping selections may not appear on the typical pizza menu board, but they will make your mouth water. In honor of the gardening season, I thought I would share with you three pizza recipes from our wood-fired oven.
- Thinly Sliced Red Beets
- Chopped Swiss Chard
- Tomato Sauce
- Fresh Asparagus
- Head of Fresh Garlic
- Vidalia Onion
- Winter Squash (Butternut, Delicata, or Sweet Potato)
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Favorite Pizza Dough
- Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- Corn Meal
- Build a fire inside of your outdoor pizza oven. The fire should be centered in the oven. For baking pizzas, you want the oven to be approximately 900 degrees. It takes us 2.5 to 3 hours to get the oven to the correct temperature and requires a careful eye to be sure the fire continues to burn. When the oven reaches the proper temperature, we push the fire to one side of the oven and leave it for 15 minutes. We then push the fire to the other side of the oven to be sure there is an equal amount of heat on each side of the oven.
- Prepare your dough using your favorite dough recipe and allow it to rise while the oven heats.
- Prep all toppings.
- Roast Vegetables once oven reaches 800-900 degrees. 1.Thinly slice two small to medium sized red beets. Coat them with olive oil. Wrap the beets in foil. 2. Drizzle asparagus with olive oil and place on metal tray along with diced winter squash. 3. Place a fresh head of large garlic onto a piece of foil. Brush with olive oil and drizzle two tablespoons of fish sauce on top. Tightly wrap the foil around the garlic. 4. Cut slits into a large Vidalia onion being careful to not cut all the way through. Place on a piece of foil and brush with olive oil. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar on top and put 1 tablespoon of brown sugar on top as well. Wrap tightly in the foil. You are now ready to roast your bundled vegetables. We roast them in the outdoor oven in the final stages of heating. We push the fire to the side of the oven for roasting. Those vegetables bundled in foil, can be roasted in the red coals.
- After vegetables have roasted, prepare your pizza dough. Toss a 10 oz. pizza dough. Coat the pizza peel with cornmeal and slide the pizza dough onto the peel. Brush the dough with olive oil.
- Arrange your toppings on your dough, ending with mozzarella cheese.
- Pizza #1 - roasted beets, chopped swiss chard and mozzarella cheese.
- Pizza #2 - roasted apsaragus, roasted garlic, black olives, and mozzarella cheese.
- Pizza #3 - pesto, roasted onion, and diced winter squash.
- Prepare your outdoor wood-fired oven. The oven should be approximately 900 degrees. Push the fire to one side of the oven and sweep the floor. Place a pizza directly on the oven floor next to the fire. As the pizza cooks, rotate it to allow even cooking. It will take approximately 1-2 minutes for the pizza to cook.
- All pizzas may be cooked in a conventional oven heated to 400 degrees.