One of the most common questions we get asked buy customers looking to invest in a pizza oven for the first time is, ‘can they be used for anything other than pizza?’. The answer to that question is a resounding YES! That’s why we bang on about it so much here at Igneus, because our ovens, and wood fired cooking in general, is so versatile and you can impart that smoky, aromatic flavour onto almost anything you wish! So, with that being said, lets dive into our latest article which explores why using your Igneus Wood Fired Pizza Oven to cook fish is definitely something you should try the next time you fire it up!
Wood Fired Fish
If you’ve ever been on holiday in the Mediterranean, in particular to areas such as Southern Italy, Greece and Turkey, you’ll probably have tasted, or at least seen, fish cooked over an open flame. It’s part and parcel of daily life in that part of the world, often served simply with some roasted potatoes and a simple salad to keep it fresh and light. Fish cooked in this way can have a distinct flavour that is influenced by the type of wood used, the open flames and the natural characteristics of the fish itself.
Using your wood fired pizza oven can really emulate these authentic flavours, as the ferocious dry heat generated by the oven chars the skin whilst keeping the inside of the fish flaky and moist. Cooking fish in this way, when done properly, can help preserve the delicate flavours of the fish. It allows the natural taste of the fish to shine through while enhancing it with the unique flavours imparted by the wood. Certain fish of course lend themselves to this method of cooking, which we’ll go into next!
So, what fish can I cook in my pizza oven?
In short, any type of fish can in theory be cooked in your Igneus pizza oven. However, we recommend sticking to more robust varieties that are able to withstand the high heat of the oven without drying out. Oily fish such as salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel are fantastic options, as well as shellfish such as octopus and king prawns.
Because of the robust characteristics of these types of fish, they make for brilliant options if you’ve never cooked fish using this method before. They’re not only able to withstand the high temperature of the pizza oven, they’re also very forgiving if you did happen to leave them in for 1-2 minutes too long, even if you fillet them into portions prior to cooking.
If you’re feeling a little more confident and want to try cooking a more delicate variety of fish, seabass is a really good option as it’s firm enough not to fall apart, and still retains a slightly oily quality which helps it to stay moist during the cooking process.
It’s really important to consider that even though these kinds of fish will stand up to the high, intense heat of the open flames, of course by its very nature fish in general is more delicate than meat. For this reason, you don’t need to take the oven up to the maximum heat that perhaps you would for cooking a 12oz ribeye steak, or a Neapolitan pizza for that matter. You can get away with 250°C – 300°C and still achieve the authentic charring on the skin. Thanks to the built-in temperature gauge on all Igneus ovens (excluding the Minimo & Ceramiko), judging when the perfect time to put the fish in the oven couldn’t be easier.
So, how do I cook the fish?
As with most things, we recommend keeping it simple. Have your fishmonger gut the fish for you, but almost always keep it whole with the skin on for smaller fish like trout, mackerel and
seabass. Even if you don’t like the skin or would never dream of eating it (which we strongly encourage you do by the way!), by keeping it on protects the flesh of the fish and keeps it wonderfully moist. Also, the charring on the skin, achieved by the open flames, is something to behold. A simple marinade of olive oil, lemon, small amount of chilli and fresh oregano, is a good place to start, but there’s also an abundance of recipes out there if that doesn’t tickle your tastebuds. You don’t have to marinade the fish for days on end either, a couple of hours is fine.
In terms of cooking ‘vessel’, we recommend using cast iron pans, roasting trays or Tuscan grill which can withstand really high temperatures. You can buy our very own Igneus Cast Iron Sets here. The cast iron sets really help the skin of the fish to crisp and char, and they’re super easy to get in and out of the pizza oven as well.
If whole fish really isn’t your thing, our Pizza Oven Prawns Recipe with chorizo, garlic and chilli offers a really simply yet delicious place to start. They’re truly amazing, and will have your guests thinking you’ve been cooking fish and shellfish in your pizza oven for years!
So, by now hopefully we’ve convinced you that using your Igneus pizza oven for cooking fish isn’t as daunting as it sounds. In fact, it’s really quite simple. Let’s be honest, one of the main benefits to using your pizza oven is the quick nature of the cooking process, and swapping out a 60 second pizza for a 7-minute whole fish isn’t that much more arduous, is it? And trust us, the results are more than worth it anyway!
Thanks for reading!