I called these delicious BLT's "our favorite summer meal" in the post title but let me clarify this just a bit - it is our favorite summer meal THIS week. With all the fabulous and fresh summer flavors, I just know something else will grab my attention in the not too distant future and it will become the new favorite. I guess you could to call me fickle when it comes to food, sorry about that! :)
Mediterranean BTL's are a wonderful yet quick and easy lunch or dinner and they definitely fall into the category of being what I call a "go to" meal. This means I can be working (or playing) all day (like today) and still have a fresh, healthy meal on the table in less than 20 minutes, especially if I keep my pantry stocked with a few key ingredients.
These BLT's utilize one of my favorite magic tricks - transforming a boring, anemic looking store-bought pita into a golden, fragrant, freshly-baked appearing delight! See this post (and directions below) for more details about what's involved in becoming a "pita magician". Summer is the perfect time to make BLT's with vine ripened tomatoes and fresh, lovely greens at their peak; Mediterranean BLT's are a fun new twist on the classic standby.
Use your favorite hummus, the reddest and ripest tomatoes you can find, crisp summer cucumbers and a good quality, smokey bacon. The dressing I like to drizzle on these middle eastern pitas is what I call our House Dressing because I use if so often and in so many ways. Instead of lettuce, I use a shower of fresh herbs and top it all off with salty, creamy Feta cheese, a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts and Za´atar*, a wonderful Mediterranean spice blend.
Stock your pantry and refrigerator so next time you find yourself in a dinner-time pinch, with no clue what to serve, pull this trick out of your bag and you will have rave reviews before you can say
sauerkraut oops, I meant to say"Houdini"! (me thinks my editor is playing tricks on me, have you ever heard of such a thing?......... might need to be looking for a new one, then again........ the current one is quite cheap reasonable...hmmmm :))
extra virgin olive oil
4 pocketless pitas, I use Kontos brand (from Costco) but whatever you can find is fine. Naans (Indian flat bread) can also be used and these are becoming more readily available at many local grocers.
12 ounces applewood bacon, cut in medium size pieces and cooked until crisp
1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced, or same amount of any other type of tomato, heirlooms are starting to show up at local farmers markets and would be fantastic
1/2 large cucumber, peeled and seeded, I like the seedless kind
½ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
¼ cup Kalamata olives, quartered
½ cup Feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
1. Heat small (big enough to hold 1 pita) non-stick pan on high for several minutes. For each pita, add 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil to hot pan. Heat oil until very hot but not smoking. Swirl oil in pan to cover most of bottom. Add pita to pan and let sear for 20 to 30 seconds or until golden. Flip pita over and repeat. Remove from pan and repeat procedure for all pitas. (You'll be tempted, but don't eat the pitas now or dinner will be a bit sad!)
2. Spread 1-2 tablespoons of hummus down middle of each pita. Top with herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and Feta cheese. Drizzle as desired with Greek dressing. Top with toasted pine nuts and sprinkle generously with Za´atar. Serve while warm.
This is not an exact-type recipe - by this I mean if you don't like, or are missing any of the ingredients, just omit or substitute something you do like, it will make it more "your" recipe and probably will be even better!
*Za'atar is both a Middle Eastern herb and a spice blend. Za'atar, the spice blend, is a combination of dried za'atar, sesame seeds, ground sumac, and other herbs and spices. The blends vary from region to region, but, generally, the flavor is herbal and nutty. Za´atar information compiled from Fine Cooking