Saturday, 8 December 2012

Small, but Perfectly Formed

Cestini di Pizza
Little Pizza "Baskets"

There are two ways to look at these little snacks. 
1.) is that they are great, simple little nibbles, that can replace these heavy, over-the-top festive overloads we are inflicting on ourselves during the Christmas build-up. 
And 2.) is that we can make them a part of one of those over-the-top festive overloads.

These are just very simple little pizza snacks... 2 bites and they're gone! So they are great appetizers or party food and basically a safe-bet and a crowd-pleaser in any case for any occasion. And using one little trick, I changed the shape of the typical flat-base pizza, to a hollow little bowl-shape that could be filled with yummy stuff... so easy you are going to love it! 

I started off by using a cookie-cutter, the largest I have, to cut out circles from the pizza dough. The fun part came next, as I took a muffin tray, turned it upside down and lightly rubbed it with a little olive oil... and placed the dough circles onto the tray and smoothed them down a little- then baked them at the highest temperature my oven could handle for 10 minutes. 

In the meantime, I diced half of a red and yellow pepper, as well as a little onion and then sautéed them with a fine dice of bacon, until everything began to get a nice golden tinge... and out it came- ready to turn into these wonderful little snacks- well... almost!

All that needed to be done now, was to halve a few cherry tomatoes, slice a mozzarella cheese and pit a handful of Kalamata olives... I just love them! Such wonderful eating olives! But it was time to take those little pizza shells off the tray, flip them over and fill them! I did that by first setting 2-3 pieces of mozzarella in each shell- not too much, and then by adding a mix of the bacon and bell peppers. I then set half a cherry tomato into the middle of each and a few pieces of the Kalamata olives around the outside. With a sprinkle of seasoned salt- I used my "Salt of the Earth" mix, off they went, back into the oven for 5 minutes at the highest setting and then for 1-2 minutes under the broiler. 

The great thing is that with the tomato still being half-raw, it has a much lighter, fresher flavor than a regular pizza... the rich Kalamata olives and the salty bacon add spice and the peppers have a nice little crunch... almost perfect! A sprinkle of fresh thyme adds a bit of depth to the flavor combination and brings the salty and sweet components together perfectly- and with a subtle and measured amount of Mozzarella cheese, it all becomes something  that although simple is rather special... Try it and see!

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