Easy Appetizers: Arabian and Mediterranean Style Pitas (Pi’ta’zas)

Pi’ta’zas; that is what I have named these very simple, yet eclectic appetizers. Any coffee table, dining table or side table they grace, the plethora of colors become a quick source of attraction. I have always had a penchant for thin crust, crispy pizzas, but they still would get too heavy or messy when served as appetizers. I considered the idea of using pita bread, but due to its thickness, it would take away from the rest of the flavors. These experiments prompted me to come up with a go-between; which I now called “Pi’ta’zas”

Pi'ta'zas

Pi’ta’zas are the perfect blend of a crunchy base topped with fresh cheese and vegetables and infused oil, minus the heaviness of a pizza and thickness of pita bread. For the base I found very thin flatbread, which I baked in the oven for 3-4 minutes before adding the topping. Baking the bread twice adds that extra crunch to each bite. The other secret to creating a gastronomical marvel for your guests, is to use homemade infused oils (I do plan to blog about my homemade oils soon, so watch this space for more on that). My two variations of pi’ta’zas are inspired by Arab and Mediterranean cuisine.

Arabian Pi’ta’zas

Ingredients:

  • Flatbread
  • Halloumi
  • Tomatoes
  • Dried Basil
  • Basil Oil
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
Preparation:
My inspiration for this style of pi’ta’zas came from my love for halloumi cheese. The texture and the saltiness of this cheese makes it one of my favourites. It will not melt in the oven, but the heat generated while baking will give it a nice, smoky flavor. In fact, just baked halloumi with basil oil and fresh basil is an appetizer on its own. Note: Most people assume halloumi is from the Middle East, but in actuality its origins can be traced to Cyprus.
  • Cut the flatbread into 4″circles with a cookie cutter and place them on a baking tray to put in the oven for about 3-4 minutes till light brown
  • While the bread cools, slice the tomatoes and halloumi
  • Spread basil oil on the flatbread and start placing the halloumi and tomatoes on the bread, with a dash of dried basil.
  • Drizzle with more basil oil and put it in the oven
  • Bake for about 5 minutes till you can see the flatbread turning brown.
  • Leave to cool and before serving sprinkle some fresh basil leaves.

Arabian Pi'ta'zas

The sheer aroma of the basil oil infusing with the halloumi and tomatoes will be your signal that your pi’ta’zas are ready.
Mediterranean Pi’ta’zas

Mediterranean Pi'ta'zas

Ingredients:
  • Flatbread
  • Feta Cheese
  • Red and Yellow Peppers
  • Olives
  • Capers
  • Sundried Tomatoes
  • Mint Oil
  • Dried Mint
  • Fresh Mint Leaves
Preparations:
  • Prepare the flatbread as suggested above.
  • Smear the mint oil all over the flatbread (Note: Make sure not to overdo the oil as the flatbread can get soggy)
  • Put the peppers, feta, olives,capers, sundried tomatoes and sprinkle dried mint over the pi’ta’zas.
  • Drizzle some mint oil before putting them into the oven
  • Bake them in the oven till the flatbread is golden brown
  • Toss some fresh mint leaves over the pi’ta’zas before serving.

Mediterranean Pi'ta'zas

With every bite, your guests will enjoy a rush of flavors, the saltiness of the cheese, the perfume of herb-infused oils, and the freshness of the vegetables. All this preparation while your guests arrive. You can prepare all the ingredients before and simply assemble and bake when you hear knocking at the door. The sensuous aroma of the herb oils will greet your guests, making them curious about whats on the menu. And they sure will not be disappointed.
  • sehrish

    these sound delicious! must try making it! also i love your blog. keep writing:)

    • http://chatteringkitchen.wordpress.com chatteringkitchen

      Thanks sehrish. Keep reading and if there is something you would want to read about specifically do let me know. :). Try these out, they are very simple and then let me know how they turned out :)

  • madiha

    Hey! sounds delicious. so where in karachi can i get this flat bread?

    • http://chatteringkitchen.wordpress.com chatteringkitchen

      Hey Madiha, you can order the flat bread from French Bakery or you can also order these appetizers from my catering service The Dressing Room. Whenever you make them do let me know how they turn out. If you have any other queries I would be happy to help :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=515602366 Syed Asad M Ali

    I so wana have these again – they were delicious! i stuffed myself with at least 4 of these bad boys and had to leave the rest for others to have

  • seema latif

    Simple that it may sound, cooking pizza is not an easy feat. over cooked! under cooked! too much sauce! too little sauce! too cheesy not enough cheese!The list goes on and on. So well done Mimi for coming up with your ingenious Pi’ta’zas. They sound so simple yet so delectable. Wouldn’t mind getting my teeth into one of those right now! Keep the oven hot, i will be there soon :)

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  • mehreen

    these were absoltuley divine and so very simple to make!!! i make the Arabian pitacas and used cherry tomotes instead of regular ones to give them an added zest! Thanks soo much for sharing this recipie! xx