Sometimes these “love at first sight” recipes are keepers, becoming tried and true stalwarts in your kitchen repertoire. Other times they provide a nice taste but nothing more. And at times they turn out fine but lead you to the conclusion that what you really wanted all along is something different entirely.
Today’s recipe, my children, falls in the latter category. Don’t worry, there’s a happy ending.
Although I hate soggy bread I love panzanella, the traditional Italian salad of stale bread chunks and tomatoes with vinaigrette. This recipe seemed to offer an interesting twist on the salad-bread pairing so I decided to give it a whirl.
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|Printable Recipe- Pita Pizza With Green Olives Monterey Jack and Chopped Salad|
|File Size:||573 kb|
Pocketless pita bread makes a convenient pizza base. You could also use any other tender, chewy flatbread, such as lavash.
Yields 4 servings
Ingredients for the chopped salad:
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 small red onion, halved and very thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper
- 3 hearts of romaine, coarsely chopped (about 8 cups)
- 4 medium Kirby (pickling) cucumbers, quartered lengthwise and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 medium tomatoes, cored, seeds and diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- 5 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
- 8 to 10 fresh mint leaves, torn into pieces
Note: This makes a lot of salad. Adjust quantities as needed and to taste.
Ingredients for the pizzas:
- 4 (7-inch) rounds of pocketless pita bread
- 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated
- 1/2 cup pitted and roughly chopped green olives
- 2 jalapeno peppers, minced, or 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Shaved parmesan cheese for garnish
- Place a pizza stone or an inverted rimmed baking sheet in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F.
- To prepare the salad, vigorously rub the inside of a large bowl with the garlic. Add the vinegar and red onion and set aside for 5 minutes. Whisk in the oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the lettuce, cucumber, tomato, avocado, basil, and mint and toss well.
- Bake the pitas, in batches if necessary, on the heated pizza stone or pan for 3 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the cheese, olives, jalapenos and black pepper. Divide this mixture among the 4 pitas.
- Return the pitas to the oven, 2 at a time, and bake until the cheese is bubbling and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Mound the salad on top of the pizzas, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.
Pita pizza? Awesome. The pita makes a nice crispy crust, and I love that combo of toppings! Make sure to taste your jalapenos, they’re not all created equal on the heat index. The chopped salad? Supremely refreshing as only a pile of crisp cool greens on a hot summer’s day can be. But piling one on top of the other was where the train went off the tracks. It sure looks purty in the picture, but once you try and eat it things get real messy real quick. The salad slip-slides right off and the whole thing is just plain hard to eat.
The right answer is to put the salad in a bowl and serve the warm, golden-brown, cheesy pita pizza alongside on a plate. Alternate bites if you want to. How about that – you just got two savory bites in one post, although I guess it’s more like a light lunch than a bite/snack. Enjoy!