Help with pita appetizer

lpinkmountainDecember 31, 2013

I'm hosting a small dinner party at my small house. I always serve some kind of appetizer before the meal and the way I usually do it is put it on the coffee table in the middle of the (tiny) living room. My house is a row house so you're either in the dining room or the living room, and both are tiny. I've found that if I spread the appetizers all around both rooms folks don't get up and move around and eat different ones. But when they are in the center of the room and everyone is watching you take them, I don't want something fussy like chips and dip. I've tried that and it never gets eaten. So I want something that you can just pick up and eat. But I also want to use up this big bag of pita bread I bought. It is not the thick kind of pita bread that you could skewer, it is the very thin kind. It's large and thin.

So I want to maybe bake/toast it and then spread some kind of spread on it and then slice it into wedges. I'm thinking roasted eggplant dip garnished with red pepper, or maybe even guacamole so it would look like a Christmas tree. The only thing I can't figure out is how to manage the pita bread so it works for this, since it is so thin. I'm wondering if I should slice it into wedges and then toast it, or toast it whole, spread the topping on and then cut it into triangles. That would be a whole lot easier than dolling up each individual pita wedge. I'm just afraid if I toast it and then cut it, the pita will shatter instead of slicing cleanly. But I have to toast it pretty crisp or it won't hold up to the topping. I could also maybe roll it up and slice it like I do with flatbread, in which case I'm not sure either eggplant dip or guacamole is substantial enough to fill the rolls. Ham and swiss, which I often do with flatbread roll ups, is out because I am serving ham at the dinner. Cheese is pretty much out because I am also serving white lasagne as a side.

Anyway, has anyone out there made a successful grab and go appetizer with this type of thin pita bread? Suggestions welcome.

I don't HAVE to use this pita bread, but this will be the ideal setting to use it up. I could just season it and serve the chips with some dip and the bolder folks would dip and the others could just eat it plain. Or I could ditch all this and serve ants on a log, which was my other idea, lol! I'd like to serve shrimp cocktail but I just can't justify the expense.

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caliloo

Hey Pink! Happy New Year!

A great grab&go appy I make with Pita is just to season it and bake it until it is crispy. Sometimes I do make a dip to go along with it, but it is so good on it's own, it really doesn't "need" anything.

The process is simple - slice the pita into manageable wedges, toss with copious amounts of olive oil (or other neutral oil if you want), then add seasonings. Garlic powder, seasoned salt, parmesan cheese, oregano, lots of Kosher salt or anything you may like as a flavoring. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 325F for about 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and let them cool/dry in the oven. After another 30 minutes or so they will be room temp and very crispy!

Of course, if you wanted to make them crispy and then spread with a tablespoon of Baba Ganoush or something just before serving it would be a lovely takeaway nibble.

Have fun!

Alexa

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:09AM
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ruthanna_gw

That thin pita has been used for decades for scooping up dips like hummus or baba so it would probably be best not to mess with it too much. I wouldn't toast it, just warm it slightly in the oven before the guests arrive, cut it into wedges and serve in a basket or on a platter next to a bowl of Alexa's black bean hummus in the link below. Depending on the consistency, you could add a small knife to the dip for your guests for spreading it on the pita triangles.

I think they would get soggy if you add a topping in advance.

Here is a link that might be useful: Black bean hummus thread

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:09AM
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momj47

Nothing beats warm pita wedges and really good hummus with some garnishes - chopped tomatoes, chopped black olives, chopped onions, chopped cucumbers, capers, etc. in little bowls with little spreaders and little spoons. Your guests can fix it to suit their own tastes.

Happy New Year

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 10:49AM
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dedtired

I had dinner at my friends' house a couple nights ago. They served a wonderful pita appy. It was pita wedges with pesto and then some cheese -- parm or something similar grated on top. They cut them up first and then toasted them. They were soooo good!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 7:38PM
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wintercat_gw

On the basis of your description, I suspect it's not pita but laffa bread - sort of Middle Eastern tortilla.

http://breadmantalking.blogspot.co.il/2010/06/meet-laffa-middle-eastern-tortilla.html

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 3:41AM
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wintercat_gw

Here goes:

Here is a link that might be useful: Laffa

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 3:47AM
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lpinkmountain

I dunno, the package says pita bread and it is hollow with two sides, but very thin. This is the type of pita they sell at the Syrian bakery where I live. I have seen something called "pocketless pita" in the grocery store, which seems like an oxymoron to me, but this is not that. If it was pocketless pita I wouldn't be so worried about it flopping over when cut. I almost always make baked pita chips with dip for parties and no one ever eats it, but I think it is because of the set up and the way I serve it. I usually put a basket of baked chips and dip on the coffee table in the center of the room. I'm not shy about cozying up to the table and eating away, but apparently my guest are, lol! This time I think I am going to take some advice from here and season the pitas and then put them on little trays next to all the seats, (I have enough TV trays to do this) along with some of them having a dollop of spinach artichoke dip already on them. That way folks can just pick them up and eat them. I like the idea of spinach dip because it is a "green" which is something lucky to have at New Years and also looks festive if I mix in some roasted red peppers. I make my spinach dip with mostly tofu so it won't be too cheesy. I'm also serving a bean salad much like "Texas caviar" but made with blackeyed peas. That I think I'll serve in endive spears. So the two will go well together.

The main meal will be ham, scalloped potatoes (BF said our guests just finished off a big pan of lasagne at home so that has been switched out), green beans almondine and apple pie for dessert.

Thanks for the help and suggestions. I'll report back on how it goes. Wish I could take pics but my camera is broken and gone for good I think.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chow.com hummus pita chips appetizer

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 1:53PM
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wintercat_gw

If it's pocket bread then it's definitely pita. I thought it might be laffa (and a particularly anorexic one at that ) because you wrote it's difficult to manage for its thinness. Pita is usually more robust.

The appetizers look delicious. And appetizer-wise, I'm aleays so worried about serving appetizers that would fill up my guests that the only appetizer i ever serve is sliced radishes topped with some lemon juice and salt. That's the best way I know to ensure people get hungrier short of pumping out their stomach.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 4:57AM
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lpinkmountain

Reporting back on how the appetizers worked out--very well! I painted the pitas with olive oil and sprinkled them with some Mrs. Dash Italian seasoning and garlic powder, cut them into 8ths with a pizza cutter, and then baked them at 350 for ten minutes. They were very substantial actually and held up well. I think it was the larger size I got by making them by hand as opposed to store bought. I then spread them with some sundried tomato/olive pesto-tapenade type thing that I made and put them out along with blackeyed pea salad served in endive spears. It all got eaten up and was a nice refreshing appetizer since I didn't serve bread or salad with the meal. I have discovered the trick of getting my appetizers eaten up, and that is to spread the pita chips or corn chips or whatever with the dip so that folks don't have to dip, they can just pick it up and eat it. In my tiny living room you are too much on display I think for folks to feel comfortable just digging in. Unless they know me real well, lol! I try to lead by example!

The pita chips were a bit on the bland side though, I didn't realize they would need salt. Next time I need to get some fancy salt for sprinkling on them. Luckily I served them with a salty olive spread so it was all good.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 1:00PM
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