I read an article first thing this morning by celebrity chef Todd Fisher, Fire up a Meal for your Inner Caveman. He declares,
“Wood fired cooking is unique unto each oven and each chef. It is the chef who creates stimulating and inspired creations, who must perfectly execute the technique, but it is the oven that exquisitely cooks and accentuates the chosen ingredients.”
I couldn’t explain this dynamic more perfectly. Todd then writes,
“I believe there is no greater style of cooking that so wonderfully combines the heritage of food with the present day palate of the experiential diner. Whether you have a wood-burning oven at home or a kettle grill, cooking with wood can make the ordinary, extraordinary.”
This is the truth about wood fired cooking. Every time we fire up our Le Panyol oven, something extraordinary happens. As we all take our turn cooking for our colleagues here at Maine Wood Heat, from the craftsmen, to the girls in sales, to the CFO, it’s amazing what everyone comes up with – leg of lamb, homemade macaroni and cheese, cinnamon bread, succulent pizzas, and steaks on the hearth from a local grass-fed beef farm. We carefully collect our ingredients, and the wood fire coaxes out the very best of their flavor.
Today, for example, was another day extraordinary day here at the office. Cheryl Barden, CFO of Maine Wood Heat Co., brought in ingredients for her own lobster pizza recipe which she designed from scratch. She prepped the dough early, cooked the lobsters, sauteed the asparagus, mixed the olive oil with freshly diced and ground tarragon, and melted 1 1/2 sticks of butter. I fired up the oven for her, and the cooking began. Cheryl was the chef with an inspired creation, as Todd explains above, who executed her technique perfectly.
Stretch & roll the dough (Cheryl uses a King Arthur Flour recipe to make the dough from scratch)
Drizzle the olive oil and fresh tarragon
Add dollops of fresh whole milk Ricotta – if you’re in Maine you can find it a Crooked Face Creamery
Layer the asparagus
Mix the lobster in with the melted butter then place the lobster on the pizza
Add a little salt and pepper to finish off the toppings
Slide the pizza into the wood fired oven
Rotate the pizza every 30 seconds or so to cook each side evenly
Pull the pizza out and let it rest for a minute
Slice the pizza, and devour (I didn’t take a picture at this step because I was too busy eating, I apologize).