We have been looking for a warmer day in March to crank up the wood-fired pizza oven, as a harbinger of Spring again. Today was the day, with temperature slowly rising from the mid-40s F. in the morning to mid-50s by 2 PM. The first use each year is a longer affair, since the oven collects moisture during the winter, so much of the heat generated by the burning wood goes into evaporating that moisture over the first two hours.
It took about three hours to get the fire good and hot. Once it gets there, the flames can be mesmerizing. Here’s an example:
Of course, as thrilling as that fire can be, its main purpose is to make great pizza. Once again, this oven does that very well. We made 5 pizzas, sharing one for a neighbor. The best combinations were:
- thinly-sliced oranges with oil-cured black olives, tomato sauce and cheese
- oven-roasted eggplant, caramelized onions, pesto, sautéed mushrooms, basil leaves, black olives, tomato sauce and cheese