Good pita bread (usually from Basson Bakery) is a staple in our house, which sometimes means we end up with a few stale loaves. I’ve gotten in the habit of tearing them into bite sized pieces, fry-toasting them in olive oil, then garnishing them with whatever is to hand for one of those late night snacks that an uncharitable person might call a good-sized meal.
This dish is infinitely malleable. Change the beans to chickpeas if you like, or change the vegetable to cauliflower. Heck, change the pita bread to corn tortillas and you are well on your way towards chilaquiles. Speaking of which, a fried egg on top is a completely valid option.
If you don’t have harissa on hand, let me commend Mustapha’s harissa to you. It is hot, yes, but also has a fantastic citrusy complexity to it. I use it constantly.
And from the way-back machine, here’s a very different take on pan-fried pita, with warm grapes and ricotta salata.
Fried Pita Bread with Fava Beans and Zucchini
Vegetarian and vegan
Serves 1 as a hearty one-pot meal, multiply as needed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for garnish
- 1 pita bread (slightly stale is fine), torn into bite-sized pieces
- Kosher salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup zucchini, diced
- 1/4 cup sliced marinated green olives, preferably a Middle eastern style
- 1/2 cup cooked fava or garbanzo beans
- 2 teaspoons harissa (less if you aren’t into heat)
- Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
- Minced parsley
- Zucchini blossoms, chiffonade (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in, say, an 8″ skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the torn bread and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until the bread is browned in a fair number of spots. Remove to a plate.
- Add a bit more oil if needed, then add the garlic and zucchini and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is browning in spots. Add the marinated olives, fava beans, harissa, and a bit of water (so it is just slightly saucy). Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is hot and integrated, maybe 3 minutes. Taste and add salt as needed. Loosen with a bit more water if needed but you are about to add the bread back, and you don’t want to make it soggy.
- Return the bread to the skillet and toss through. Transfer to serving bowl.
- Garnish with plenty of additional good olive oil, the cherry tomatoes, parsley, and the zucchini blossoms if using.