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03/12/2018

~Greek Hummus, Steak & Arugula-Salad Pita-Pizzas~

IMG_5549Everyone knows anything one can sandwich between two slices of bread can be tucked into a pita pocket to eat on the run.  Almost everyone knows that the flat round pita (or any flatbread) is a great foil for all sorts open-face knife-and-fork sandwich meals too.  What all busy moms know is: if the ingredients on the pita are amicable to being baked in the oven, and you refer to it as pizza, it's a sure-fire way to get children to venture into trying just about anything.

It's called "bending the rules for the common good", and, when my kids were young, I did it in creative ways.  If it looks like a sandwich and it's eaten like a sandwich, it must be a sandwich -- even if it is not between the definitive two slices of bread.  If it looks like a pizza and it's eaten like a pizza, it must be a pizza -- even if it doesn't have the typical tomato sauce and cheese on it. That said, in a world when no two family members will ever agree on sandwich stuffings or pizza toppings, make-your-own personal-size pockets or pizza for dinner is a solid solution.

IMG_5224My Greek-style pita pizzas, inspired by my recipe for ~ Greek-Style Flank-steak Salad or Pocket Sammies ~ start with a slathering of hummus and a layer of mozzarella. Next up, onion, briny olives and feta, and a few cherry tomatoes.  When these show-stopping snack-pizzas emerge from the oven, a mix of lightly-dressed arugula leaves and diced cucumber with bits of rare-cooked flank steak top them off. If you've made my steak salad, all you need is pita bread and hummus to quickly turn leftovers into pizza.* 

IMG_5462Greek pizza per se refers to the type of dough/style of crust -- in the same way New York-Neopolitan- or Sicilian-, Chicago- or Detroit-, or, St. Louis- styles refer to theirs. Greek-style crust is baked in a shallow, heavily-oiled pan, instead of directly on the bricks of a pizza oven, which renders it somewhat thick and puffy with a crispy, fried-like exterior and a tender, chewy interior, and, it's referred to as "Greek pizza" even when it has non-Greek toppings.  Because pita bread is common to all sorts of Greek-style sandwiches (like the iconic Greek Gyro Beef & Lamb Pita Sandwich), I'm gonna call it a day and suffice it to say:

IMG_5568My pita pizzas are sophisticated Greek-style savory w/snazz.

*Note:  I won't lie.  Making these with ingredients leftover from my salad is quick and easy.  That's what I'm doing today.  That said, if you're looking for a sophisticated pizza snack to serve as an hors d'oeuvre,  making them in multiples and slicing them into wedges is well-worth the effort. 

IMG_54992 pita pockets, whole-wheat or white, your favorite brand

4-6  tablespoons hummus

4  slices deli-style mozzarella cheese

1/4  cup very-thinly-sliced (shaved) red onion

6-8  Greek kalamata black olives, well-drained and  cut in half

6-8  pimiento-stuffed Spanish green olives, well-drained and cut in half

6-8  grape tomatoes cut in half tomatoes

1/2  cup crumbled feta cheese, divided (1/4 cup for pizza, 1/4 cup for salad)

3/4-1  cup baby arugula leaves

1/4-1/2  cup peeled and diced Kirby cucumber

2  tablespoons Greek-style vinaigrette, preferably homemade, or high-quality store-bought

1  teaspoon Greek seasoning blend

6-8 small flank steak roulades, marinated in Greek-style vinaigrette as directed here and broiled as directed below (Note:  Feel free to skip the steak and serve these Greek pita pizzas a meatless meal.):

IMG_5061 IMG_5061 IMG_5061 IMG_5061 IMG_5061~Step 1.  Position oven rack about 8" underneath heating element and preheat broiler.  Remove the room temperature flank steak from the marinade and place on an 11 3/4" x 8 1/2" disposable aluminum broiler pan (the kind with the corrugated bottom).  Place the flank steak under the broiler and cook for 8-9 minutes, until steak is golden brown and bubbly. Remove from the oven and flip steak over.  Return to broiler and cook 8-9 more minutes, using an instant-read meat thermometer to test for doneness after 8 minutes. Remove from oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 130°-134°.  Allow to rest 10-15 minutes prior to slicing*.

*Note:  My favorite way to serve my Greek salad is with warm steak.  For my pita pizzas, it's best made with steak that's been chilled and returned to room temp (take it out of refrigerator about an hour prior to slicing), so, wrap the cooked steak in plastic wrap, refrigerate it, and slice it later.

IMG_5150 IMG_5150~ Step 2.  Slice meat in half lengthwise, then thinly-slice each half across the grain while holding the knife at a 30° angle, into thin (1/8"-1/4"-thick) strips.  Roll each meat strip up roulade-style*, placing them in a bowl as you work.

*Note:  A roulade (roo-LAHD) is a fancy French term for a thin slice of raw or cooked meat rolled around a filling then secured with some kitchen twine or a toothpick.  If the meat is raw, the roulade is cooked after rolling, if the meat is cooked, the roulade is ready for serving.

IMG_5485 IMG_5485~ Step 3.  Typically the roulades are used as they are in my Greek salad.  Leftovers are stored in my refrigerator.  To turn yesterday's leftovers into today's pizza topping, "chiffonade" them (a Fancy french word meaning "to cut into ribbons").

IMG_5501 IMG_5501 IMG_5501~ Step 4.  Place two pita breads on a 12 1/2" x 8 3/4" baking pan that has been lined with parchment. Use a knife to slather the top of each pita with 2-3 tablespoon hummus, to within 1/4" of the edge of the perimeter.

IMG_5507 IMG_5507 IMG_5507 IMG_5507 IMG_5507 IMG_5507 IMG_5507 IMG_5507~Step 5.  Place two slices mozzarella cheese (atop the hummus) on each pita.  Scatter with shaved red onion, then arrange Greek and Spanish olives, followed by grape tomatoes over the cheese.  Sprinkle on half the crumbled feta.  Bake pita pizzas on center rack of 350º oven until mozzarella is melted and feta is just starting to show signs of browning, 11-12 minutes.

IMG_5524 IMG_5524~ Step 6.  While the pita pizzas are in the oven baking, in a medium bowl, toss the remain feta crumbles, arugula leaves and diced cucumber with 2 tablespoons of the Greek vinaigrette and 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning blend.  Remove pizzas from oven.  Plate pizzas and serve pizzas, whole or cut into wedges, topped with salad.

Cut into wedges & served as sophisticated appetizers:

IMG_5586Left whole & served as a hearty, personal-sized pizza meal:

IMG_5562Greek Hummus, Steak & Arugula Salad Pita-Pizzas:  Recipe yields instructions to make 2 Greek-style pita pitas/8 appetizers/2 main-dish servings.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; 12 1/2" x 8 3/4" baking pan; parchment paper

IMG_0451Cook's Note: I surely didn't invent the word pizz'alad, but it is catchy. That said, I'd been kinds making various versions of them at home for my kids for years (Philadelphia cheesesteak, Buffalo chicken and Texican taco to name three), before publications like Eating Well, Bon Appetít and Food and Wine started using this trendy term to describe a pizza with a salad on top.  Click here to get my basic (Crazy for Caprese) recipe for ~ Pizza' alads:  Salad Pizza (Pizza w/a Salad on Top) ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2018)

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