If you need some appetizers to get you started when cooking in your wood fired oven then look no further, this article has you covered. Use that heat while the pizza oven heats up for some delicious dishes.
It can be a long wait until the pizza oven is fully fired to the top temperatures, so getting some cooking in first can satisfy you and your hungry guests.
I’ve found the best appetizers that you can cook in your wood fired oven and made a list for you below. I’ve included recipes so you can follow some easy step by step instructions. You’ll be able to get some inspiration as to what you can cook, and maybe adapt some of your own dishes.
Guide To Cooking Temperatures
You can cook lots of dishes in the wood fired oven. I’ve put together this table as a guide to temperatures. Once you try a few things then you can adapt your regular recipes to be used in your pizza oven. Most items in this list are cooked at the “grilling” or “roasting” temperature range.
|Fahrenheit||Celsius||Style Of Cooking||What To Cook|
|750°F +||400°C+||Pizza cooking||Pizza, garlic bread, naan bread|
|540 – 600°F||280 – 320°C||Grilling||Steak, sardines, shrimp|
|450 – 540°F||230 – 280°C||Roasting||Turkey, Roast potatoes, whole fish|
|400 – 450°F||200 – 230°C||Baking Bread||Sourdough, pizza rolls, foccacia|
|320 – 400°F||160 – 200°C||Baking Desserts||Carrot cake, brownies,|
cinnamon rolls, strawberry cobbler
|210 – 250°F||100 – 120°C||Slow cooking||Pulled pork, BBQ ribs, stews|
How To Cook Appetizers
Small dishes are usually cooked quickly with a fairly hot oven and live flame. Give your oven enough time to heat up to around 450F/230C and then push logs to the side for space, this might be 45 minutes or so. This is as if you are grilling – such as meat, fish or vegetables. Avoid cooking something for a long period as the oven is increasing in temperature.
You can cook foods in small oven proof dishes or a larger cast iron skillets and trays. Get creative – such as the barbecued sardines which are nailed to a clean piece of wood. Or the salmon cooked on cedar wood.
Remember that anything in direct heat to the flame and embers will cook fast. You might need to turn these foods nearer the heat otherwise they will burn.
A cast iron skillet is really great tool for wood fired cooking. It’s once piece of metal so can go straight in the oven with no problems. It has deep sides and cooks evenly from its thick base. The thickness holds heat well so can be used to serve in, and it looks great. Get a well reviewed one from Amazon here.
You can get an oven hook which allows you to retrieve and move the dishes around to stop them burning on one side. Get one on Amazon like this one which has a long handle (affiliate links).
21 Appetizers For Your Pizza Oven
Shrimps cook really quickly and you barely need any preparation. Just get them in an oven proof dish, and blast them in heat until they go pink. Finish with lemon juice and some chopped parsley.
Get the recipe – Wood Fired Basil Shrimp
Baked Cheese With Crusty Bread
This is a great appetiser or end to a meal. You need a round cheese that has a rind (and preferably a wooden box) and that will melt well such as Camembert or Brie. It is baked until soft and you dip crusty bread and anything else you fancy into the top.
Get the recipe – Wood Fired Camembert
Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
This is wood fired cooking at its best. Stuff the jalapenos with cheese, wrap in bacon and then cook on sticks right in front of the flames. You can also just lay them on a tray. Crispy bacon, soft peppers and a delicious bite of cheese in the middle.
Get the recipe – Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
Fresh clams can be cooked in wine, butter and herbs which is also infused with a slight smokiness from the fire. An absolutely delicious way to enjoy some fresh shellfish.
Get the recipe – Wood Oven Roasted Clams
Use your pizza dough and add some garlic, herbs and cheese for individual garlic knots. Cook until golden on the tops. A delicious way to get your guests going before the main pizza event.
Get the recipe – Garlic Knots
These wings are baked rather than fried, and you can cook a big batch at once. Make your own buffalo sauce with hot sauce and butter and you can serve up with a blue cheese dip if you like.
Get the recipe – Wood Fired Buffalo Chicken Wings
Barbecuing sardines are one of the most popular ways to cook these small fish. The outside gets crisp and the smoky flavor with the oily fish is perfect. The attached recipe has the fish nailed to a piece of wood which is then placed towards the fire. Of course, finish this one with lemon.
Get the recipe – Barbecued sardines
I love how asparagus gets slightly charred on the outside when cooked at a high heat quickly. This means it also stays nice and crunchy with a good bite. Keep it simple and fresh with some olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Get the recipe – Roast Asparagus
Meatballs go great when cooked in a small dish and topped up with tomatoes and a splash of red wine. Use beef and pork for extra flavor, and some breadcrumbs to make them tender and light. Serve with bread for the leftover sauce.
Get the recipe – Spanish Meatballs
Mussels In Garlic And Cream
Mussels with garlic, parsley and cream is a classic combination which cooks in minutes in your pizza oven. Break up some baguette with some Parmesan cheese and bake to make some cheesy bread bites on the side.
Get the recipe – Mussels with Cheesy Bread Bites
Corn On The Cob
You can cook these whole, in the husks if you can get them. Soak them beforehand to stop them burning, and then grill on the floor of the oven, turning them often. Let the flesh char but don’t let them burn.
Get the recipe – Woodfired Corn on the Cob
Flatbread And Dips
Flat breads are super simple because they don’t need special flour, yeast or rising. Just roll them out and cook on the oven floor. A dip which you can make is Lebanese baba ganoush – roasted eggplant (aubergine) blended with garlic, which is delicious. This can be cooked in the pizza oven also for something very unique.
Get the recipe – Wood Fired Flatbread and Baba ganoush
Get some large mushrooms and remove the stalk from the center to give you a nice stuff-able mushroom bowl. You can put what you like in here but remember the cheese which makes them golden. This attached recipe uses artichokes and Parmesan.
Get the recipe – Artichoke Parmesan Mushrooms
Baked Whole Feta Cheese
Feta is a Greek cheese. You can buy it in a block and this can be baked whole in a dish surrounded by tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic. The cheese is tangy and the vegetables are warm and soft which makes for a comforting dish.
Get the recipe – Baked Feta
Wood Fired Peppers
Peppers cook great in the wood fired oven because they char on the outside but hold their shape. You can pick large bell peppers and stuff them, or smaller green chill peppers and serve with olive oil, salt and pepper. The recipe attached stuffs whole bell peppers with ground beef and herbs.
Get the recipe – Stone Baked Stuffed Bell Peppers
You can’t get much simpler than this – raw almonds toasted in olive oil. You need to make sure you don’t over cook these as they burn quickly. Use an ovenproof dish and turn them around the hot coals.
Get the recipe – Toasted Almonds
Moroccan Chicken Skewers
I had to put some sort of skewer recipe in this list because everyone loves meat and veggies on a stick. Obviously you can put what you like, just pick some interesting combos and use a marinade for extra flavor and moisture. Try some chicken with Moroccan herbs, with a mint yogurt on the side.
Get the recipe – Wood fired Moroccan Chicken Skewers
Scallops In Garlic Butter
Cook scallops with garlic and parsley butter with a hint of smokiness from the oven. Don’t overcook them or you will lose the delicate texture. If you can get the shells to serve them in that is an extra bonus.
Get the recipe – Wood fired Scallops with Garlic and Parsley
Nachos just need heat to melt the cheese essentially. So you can load them up in a skillet with cheese, meats, beans and jalapenos. Melt the cheese in the oven and then remove before adding your sour cream, guacamole and salsa. Just keep an eye you don’t burn one side, so keep turning if the fire is fierce. A good dish for sharing with a crowd.
Get the recipe – Loaded Nachos
Chorizo In Red Wine
Chorizo is a Spanish sausage with garlic and paprika – this is one of my favorite tapas dishes. Get a skillet or terracotta dish and add sliced chorizo, red wine and whole garlic cloves. Bake and serve with bread for the juices.
Get the recipe – Chorizo With Red Wine
Maple Plank Salmon
Cooking on a plank of wood has the benefits that it keeps the fish very moist as there is no direct heat from the bottom. The wood needs to be soaked first. If you don’t have any wood you can always keep it off direct heat by using vegetables.
Get the recipe – Maple Plank Wood Fired Salmon
And there you have the list. That’s plenty of inspiration for appetizers so give some of them a try. It is a great way to make the most of the wood fire as it heats up.
For some more things to cook in your pizza oven then check out my other articles 15 breads to cook in a pizza oven and 11 desserts to cook in a pizza oven. There is recipes there for all the dishes in the posts.