Greek Pizza

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(Pitsa Elliniki)

Many culinary historians actually credit the Greeks with creating pizza. Here is a unique twist to one of the world’s favorite foods.

6 tablespoons Krinos Extra Virgin Olive Oil for brushing
1/2 pound Athens or Apollo phyllo, thawed (see WORKING WITH PHYLLO below)
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
2  large firm ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced into thin rounds
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (optional)
1 cup Krinos Pitted Kalamata Olives, rinsed and drained
3/4 pound Krinos Kasseri Cheese, grated
Krinos Oregano and Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Oil a large rectangular pizza pan or other shallow baking dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Layer 8-10 sheets of phyllo evenly in the pan, brushing each layer with olive oil.

Spread the bread crumbs on a shallow dish and dredge the tomatoes lightly in them. Place evenly on top of phyllo. Strew the peppers, garlic, onion and olives evenly over the tomatoes and top with grated kasseri. Sprinkle with oregano and pepper. Bake in a hot oven for about 35 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and gooey and the phyllo crisp and golden brown. Remove, let stand five minutes, cut and serve.

Yield: 6-8 servings


WORKING WITH PHYLLO: Make sure the pastry is at room temperature. If the phyllo is frozen, it should be thawed slowly in the refrigerator overnight and then left at room temperature for two hours before opening the package. 

Open the package and unroll the phyllo carefully. Place it on a kitchen towel, and place one dry and one damp towel over it to keep the phyllo moist. If the top sheet seems on the verge of becoming too moist and sticky, turn the phyllo over or cut the stack in half like a deck of cards, rotating the bottom sheets with the top. Work fast!

The sheets will have to be  buttered or brushed with olive oil or a combination of both. Count on about 1/2 teaspoon of fat per sheet, and make sure the edges are brushed first. Butter a large, rectangular, 2-to 3-inch-deep baking pan. Place the phyllo sheet-by-sheet in the pan, using about 8-10 sheets for the bottom and brushing each with melted butter and/or olive oil. Spread the filling evenly over the phyllo, and top with the remaining sheets, buttering or oiling each one. Score the savory pies into squares or diamond shapes, and bake in a preheated oven at 375ºF (unless otherwise specified in recipe) for about 50 minutes to one hour, or until the phyllo is crisp and golden.