August blog takeover – Glenn Gatland Head Chef
Welcome to Una Kitchen, my first blog since the relaunch of our restaurant. We have completed the install of our Gozney Napoli 1500 oven, the first of its kind in Cornwall. Gozney are based in Dorset and pride themselves in producing one of the best wood fired oven on the market today. They look fantastic and cook even better than they look.
Cooking with fire can be a daunting prospect, but my advice to any chef working with this style of oven is not to be scared.
With a wood fired oven you tend to run it at very high temperatures, this enables you to cook fantastic pizzas with a lovely crisp base. We run our oven at 400 degrees centigrade and try to ensure that the base is kept at a minimum 370 centigrade, the perfect temperature for our style of pizza.
The downside of running high temps can be that certain foods cannot be cooked without burning, such as bread and pastry. However, there are some foods that love high temperatures, fish being one ingredient that responds well. Crispy, bubbly skin on locally caught mackerel or bream cannot be replicated in any other type of oven.
My personal favourites are sardines. It brings back personal memories of my trips to Portugal, as a child where every beach or cove would have smelled of sardines cooking on charcoal. It’s a smell and sight that is unique to Algarve. There are certain times of the year when an abundance of sardines are caught off the Cornish coast.
This is how I prepare my favourite dishes.
I place sardines in a cast iron dish and place a few knobs of butter on top of each fish followed by a generous sprinkling of cracked black pepper and place the dish next to the fire where the temperature is at its highest, approx. 600 centigrade. Leave them there for a couple of minutes or until lighlty charred, remove from the oven and squeeze lemon juice over the top. Sprinkle with roughly chopped parsley.
Serve with crusty bread or lovely crisp focaccia. Simple, fresh and tasty just how wood-fired dishes should be.
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