Getty / jenifoto
And when it comes to the easy appetizer, my current obsession for these gatherings are cheater flatbreads. Sure, I make a killer homemade pizza dough, but it takes five days. And there is nothing wrong with store-bought pizza dough, but the prep on those is still more than I want to do when there are friends sipping rosé on the patio. So, this summer, and likely well into the colder months, I am making my flatbread apps and snacks on store-bought pita.
Why pita flatbreads are the best idea
Let me count the ways this is such a genius shortcut. First, there is no end to the toppings you can create with these easy little breads, and since they are small, you can easily make a couple different flavors at once, and not have a ton of leftovers even if you are only serving one or two guests. They can be as simple as a brushing of olive oil or melted butter and a sprinkle of herbs, or you can go crazy with cheeses and cured meats. You can serve them hot, warm, or room temperature. Top them up, cut into 4-6 wedges, pile on a plate and you've got insanely delicious snacks with minimal effort.
How to make pita flatbreads
To make your pita flatbreads, heat the oven to 400° and put a rack in the upper third of the oven. You don't want to broil, but you do want them slightly closer to the top heating element for a little browning.
Assuming ½-1 pita per person, arrange pitas on a sheet pan you have sprayed lightly with nonstick spray, and then add your toppings. Bake for 8-12 minutes until they are cooked to your preference; let cool 2 minutes before slicing to serve.
Great topping combinations for pita flatbreads
You can let your imagination go wild with how you top them, but I use a basic rule of no more than two or three toppings, plus a garnish. Here are some my favorite combinations to get you started:
Honeyed goat cheese with sliced peaches, chopped fresh sage or tarragon to garnish
A paste of za'atar and olive oil with pine nuts or slivered almonds
Grated Gruyère and chopped oil-cured black olives
Aged white cheddar, caramelized onion, and cumin seeds
Soppressata or pepperoni with little pearls of fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of hot honey
Prosciutto, garnished with arugula tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper, drizzled with balsamic glaze
Thinly sliced potatoes tossed in olive oil with minced fresh rosemary
Shallots, thinly sliced mushrooms, and chopped bacon
Sliced zucchini, sliced garlic, and olive oil, chopped parsley to garnish