Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Baby Clam, Garlic and Harissa Pita Pizza!

     Mediterranean Style Pita Pizza!
     Many people work all day and live a very busy lifestyle.  These people tend to seek food that provides instant gratification.  Settling for fast food or grabbing a quick bite to eat from a food truck becomes a daily routine.  Busy people often get so caught up in the rat race, that they only seek convenience and they simply forget all about quick easy recipes that can be cooked at home.
     Back in the 1970's, making Pita Pizza in a toaster oven was a popular snack food craze.  Busy people that worked two jobs each day, just to make ends meet, really liked Pita Pizza because it could be topped off with just about anything and it only took a few minutes to make.  Pita Pizza also was cheap to make.  For the cost of a greasy fast food burger, a cook in a home kitchen could whip up 2 or 3 Pita Pizzas for the same price.  Pita Pizza definitely was a healthier food choice that was cost effective.

     Pita Pizza was a success in home kitchens, but when marketed on a bar snack menu, Pita Pizza was a flop.  I worked at a bar & grill back in the early 1980's that offered Pita Pizza with standard pizza toppings.  Customers never ordered the Pita Pizza, because they knew that they could make the same Pita Pizza at home for a fraction of the menu price.
     If that same early 1980's bar & grill offered a few select Pita Pizza menu items that had interesting gourmet toppings, then the sales numbers probably would have been good.  Offering unique gourmet style Pita Pizzas that have interesting cuisine themes and catchy names is a far better marketing strategy than directly competing against home cooks that make Pita Pizzas with ordinary toppings in a toaster oven.  Gourmet Pita Pizzas would have generated consumer interest at that period of time and more than likely, Gourmet Pita Pizza would have become a profitable trendy food fad for several years to come.  

     When designing a gourmet traditional pizza or a new unique Pita Pizza, it pays to think outside the pizza box!  Serving the same old Pita Pizza with the same old toppings will result in consumer burnout or bored party guests.  Pita Pizza is such an easy creative medium to work with, that there really is no excuse to not let it all hang out when experimenting with a new flavor theme.
     Today's Pita Pizza recipe is a good example of thinking up an interesting Pita Pizza topping theme and just going with it.  Clam Pizzas are popular in old school Italian pizzerias, so a Pita Pizza with a clam topping is guaranteed to be a winner too.  Tomato pizza sauce is an easy choice, but making the Pita Pizza with Harissa Sauce kicks the flavor up a notch and it supports a simple Mediterranean theme.  Adding extra garlic powder is easy to do, but using thin sliced garlic cloves brings this Pita Pizza up to a gourmet level.  
     Baby Clam, Garlic and Harissa Pita Pizza:
     This recipe yields 1 individual size Pita Pizza.
     Harissa is fairly easy to make, but the bottled or canned Harissa products are more cost effective.  Canned Harissa Paste can be diluted with water to make Harissa Sauce.  Jars of ready to serve Harissa Sauce are even easier to work with.  
     Canned or bottled Harissa products and great fresh Pita Bread are available in Mediterranean food markets.  For today's recipe, I used a jar of good Harissa Sauce that was made in Turkey.
     Small cans of Baby Clams are available in common grocery stores.  One small can is enough for 1 or 2 Pita Pizzas. 
     Step 1:  Open a small can of baby clams and drain off the liquid.  (About 3 to 4 ounces of drained baby clams are needed.)
     Place the baby clams in a mixing bowl.
     Add 4 thin sliced garlic cloves.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of virgin olive oil.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon pomace olive oil.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Set the clam topping aside.
     Step 2: Brush an 8" to 10" pita bread with virgin olive oil.
     Spread a thin layer of harissa sauce on the pita bread.
     Sprinkle 2 pinches of coriander on the harissa.
     Sprinkle 2 pinches of oregano on the harissa.
     Step 3:  Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of grated mozzarella cheese on the pita pizza.
     Place a generous amount of the Garlic Baby Clam & Olive Oil Mixture on the pita pizza.
     Step 4:  Sprinkle 2 to 3 more tablespoons of grated mozzarella cheese on the baby clam topping.
     Sprinkle 2 pinches of chopped Italian Parsley on the pita pizza.
     Step 5:  Place the pita pizza on a baking pan.
     Bake in a 350ºF oven, till the cheese melts and the ingredients are hot.  (Try to not excessively brown the cheese or the clams will become tough as rubber!)
     Step 6:  Slide the pita pizza onto a cutting board.
     Cut the pita pizza into 4 pie shaped slices.
     Place the pita pizza on a plate.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.
     This is a great tasting gourmet Pita Pizza!

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