With June comes the official start of summer, and that means a lot of opportunities to use your outdoor kitchens and wood-fired ovens. Cooking in a wood-fired oven is one of life's true pleasures. Few things compare with the experience of firing your oven, watching the flames heat the oven dome, feeling the heat of the oven on your face, and cooking some of the world's best pizza, bread, vegetables, roasts … the list goes on.
For many, the wood-fired oven quickly becomes the focal point for entertaining and the go-to place for cooking, especially in the summertime. (We know pizza oven owners who say they have not lit their propane grill since they installed an outdoor oven.)
So, with cooking on the mind, this month's Wood-Fired Newsletter focuses on – you guessed it – preparing meals in your wood-fired oven. We've got an update on the Forno Bravo Community Cookbook, a great (free) resource for all you wood-fired cooks. Related to that, we're on the hunt for a few good professional chef contributors to the Cookbook – read more below.
Glean culinary inspiration from the new Pizza Quest webisode Peter Reinhart shares below (pizzas with pistachios, pollen dust, lemon preserves and more!). Finally, you'll find a nice new recipe from the Community Cookbook: jerk-spiced shrimp with collard greens – a perfect dish for summer.
P.S. The date is drawing near for the Vineman Triathlon, set for July 27 in Sonoma County. It's a 2.4-mile swim, 112 on the bike and then a 26.2 marathon. 140.6 in total. As you can imagine, I've been training quite a bit, and appreciated this recent encouragement from our second daughter on Father's Day. I'll let you know how it goes.
We are looking for a few good chefs!
You might have seen the recent announcement on Facebook about a new program related to the Forno Bravo Community Cookbook.
We are in search of professional, working chefs to contribute some great wood-fired recipes and pictures to the Community Cookbook. In exchange, the participating chefs will receive a Primavera oven.
So, if you are a professional chef who loves wood-fired cooking (or who wants to learn to love wood-fired cooking) – even better if you know a couple of great chefs in your community who would be interested – get in touch with us!
For details, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with a current resume, and we will get right back to you.
Peter's Corner: The Signature Challenge Pizza
Peter Reinhart, our Pizza Quest host, baking instructor and baker extraordinaire, shares a new webisode from the Basta series.
When Kelly Whitaker and Al Henkin, of Boulder's wonderful brick oven restaurant Basta, collaborated with me and our Pizza Quest team to create two pizzas, one red and one white, to challenge Patrick Rue and his Bruery team, we came up with a couple of very strong contenders.
You can hear in this webisode, as they explain the rationale and sourcing they put into each of their ingredients, how much thought went into these pizzas. You'll see guanciale (specially cured but not smoked bacon), squash blossoms, local pistachios, white anchovies, lemon preserve, fresh pollen dust, great cheeses, Bianco-DiNapoli tomato sauce (and notice how bright that sauce is -- awesome stuff!), and our special, signature dough made with Central Milling -00- flour, bumped up a notch with a nice shot of crystal malt.
More importantly, as we've tried to do in many of our webisodes, our goal is to bring you with us into the creative process and, hopefully, stimulate your own creative juices.
For more on this webisode and the Basta series, see Peter's original post on Pizza Quest: The Signature Challenge Pizza
Recipe: Jerk-Spiced Shrimp With Slow-Cooked Collard Greens
We hope you enjoy this month's featured recipe from the Forno Bravo Community Cookbook, written by our chef moderator Dan Compton.
- 1 lb of your favorite shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 5 green onions or scallions
- 2 serrano chiles, or habaneros if you like it hot
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 piece fresh ginger the size of your thumb tip, peeled
- 7 allspice berries
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 T fresh thyme
- juice of 3 limes
- 1 C + 2 T vegetable oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
- 1 lb collard greens
- 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
With summer finally upon us, this is a great light meal to coax out of your wood oven.
Roughly chop the green onions and chiles, removing the seeds and ribs of the peppers if you desire a less-spicy finished product. Place the green onions, chiles, 2 cloves of garlic, ginger, allspice, peppercorns, thyme and lime juice in the carafe of a blender. Season with salt. Turn on the blender and slowly pour in the 1 cup of vegetable oil. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Your jerk spice marinade will keep just fine in the refrigerator for a few days.
About 2 hours before you're ready to cook shrimp, douse them in the marinade. Mix to coat on all sides. Set aside in the refrigerator.
While the shrimp are marinating, cook your collards. You are going to want a low- to medium-hot wood oven for this. Remove all the stems from the collards and discard. Roughly chop the leaves. Preheat a high-sided roasting pan or pot as big as your oven can hold. Mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the pan, then add the sliced onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and sweat, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add the collards to the pot. If your pot isn't big enough to hold all the greens, work in batches: Add as much as the pot can hold and allow them to cook down for 2 minutes. The greens will quickly wilt and then you should be able to fit in the rest.
Add the vinegar to the greens, season with salt and pepper, and cover loosely with foil. Allow the greens to slowly cook, stirring occasionally, until dark green and tender. Depending on how hardy your collards are, this could take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. If the pot starts getting too dry and the greens are sticking to the bottom, add a little bit of water. Once the greens are done, remove from the oven and set aside.
To cook your shrimp, stoke up the oven and then preheat a large skillet. Drain any excess marinade off the shrimp. Heat the remaining oil in the pan and then add the shrimp. You will probably need to work in batches; the shrimp should be in a single layer and not too crowded in the pan. If you're using smaller shrimp, they will cook very quickly, approximately 45 seconds to 1 minute. Shake the pan once or twice and you're done. For large shrimp, cook on one side until the flesh has turned opaque two-thirds of the way up the side. Turn over and cook on the other side until done.
Serve the shrimp on a bed of warm collards.