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.
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 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.
|°F||°C||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 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 a great tool for wood fired cooking. It’s one piece of metal so can go straight in the oven with no problems. It has deep sides and cooks evenly from its thick base.
You can get an oven hook that allows you to retrieve and move the dishes around to stop them from burning on one side.
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.
Baked Cheese With Crusty Bread
This is a great appetizer 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.
Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
This is wood fired cooking at its best. Stuff the jalapenos with cheese, wrap them 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.
Fresh clams can be cooked in wine, butter, and herbs which are also infused with a slight smokiness from the fire. An absolutely delicious way to enjoy some fresh shellfish.
Use your pizza dough and add some garlic, herbs, and cheese for individual garlic knots. Cook until golden on the tops. This a delicious way to get your guests going before the main pizza event.
These wings are baked in a cast iron pan rather than fried so they’re healthier and less messy. Make your own buffalo sauce with hot sauce and butter and you can serve up with a blue cheese dip if you like.
Barbecuing sardines is 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.
I love how asparagus gets slightly charred on the outside when cooked at 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.
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.
Mussels In Garlic And Cream
Mussels with garlic, parsley, and cream is a classic combination that 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.
Corn On The Cob
You can cook these whole, in the husks if you can get them. Soak them beforehand to stop them from burning, and then grill them on the floor of the oven, turning them often. Let the flesh char but don’t let them burn.
Flatbread And Dips
Flatbreads are super simple because they don’t need special flour, yeast, or rising. Just roll them out and cook them on the oven floor.
A dip that 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 some large mushrooms and remove the stalk from the center to give you a nice stuffable 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.
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.
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 Padron peppers and serve them with olive oil and coarse salt as a snack.
You can’t get much simpler than this – raw almonds toasted in olive oil. You need to make sure you don’t overcook these as they burn quickly. Use an ovenproof dish and turn around the hot coals.
Moroccan Chicken Skewers
I had to put some sort of skewer recipe on 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 mint yogurt on the side.
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.
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.
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.
Maple Plank Salmon
Cooking on a plank of wood has the benefit 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.
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 on 15 breads to cook in a pizza oven and 11 desserts to cook in a pizza oven. There are recipes there for all the dishes in the posts.