Eat with your hands

My blog is beginning to make me think I have an obsession with tortilla wraps, but I suppose there could be worse things! It’s also making me see how cooking is just as much following recipes as it is trying to find a way to use the food in your refrigerator in new and delicious ways.

After three days of eating the four festival food groups at moe.down (that’s sausage, bacon, hot dogs and grilled cheese), I opted for something a bit lighter for dinner this evening, what I like to call pizza salad. It was also an attempt to use up the three packs of wheat tortillas I inherited after trying to sort through the post-festival food mess.

I used to work at a restaurant in Pittsford that served pizza salads, and the dish was among the most popular on the menu. Their version of pizza salad constituted plain pizza dough baked in a wood fired oven, brushed with garlic and olive oil, topped with mixed greens, grilled zucchini, peppers, portabella mushrooms, onions, goat cheese and balsamic vinegar.

My version of the pizza salad is a little different and based off a dish I once enjoyed at Blue Moon Grill in Fulton, NY. It’s very simple although it does make the oven smoke up.

First, make up a mixture of olive oil and butter (I know there is a culinary term for this, but I can’t recall it for the life of me) with fresh herbs like oregano, parsley, thyme and basil, as well as some pressed garlic or garlic paste. Mix that up into a nice smooth consistency. Thinly slice a few plum tomatoes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. This is the tricky part. Thinly coat the tortillas in the butter/herb mixture and place them on your oven racks so that they are full supported, especially on the edges. This can be tricky because as the tortillas heat up, they’ll want to droop off the oven rack until they start to get a little crispy. After you’ve placed the shells on the racks, place the tomatoes in a circular fashion around the center of the tortilla and then sprinkle them with a thin layer of some kind of Italian cheese mixture, such as a four cheese blend.

Keep rotating the shells as they bake. They should get crispy in about four to five minutes. Remove from oven once edges start to brown.

In a separate bowl, I mix some salad greens and thinly sliced onions with balsamic dressing. Slice the cooled tortilla pizza in four quadrants and top with the salad mixture. This is eaten like a pizza, but you stuff the salad into the center of your pizza slices. It’s very messy and very delicious.

I’m considering using the broil setting on the oven as an experiment for a future bout with this recipe.

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