Is it acceptable to have pineapple on a pizza? These Parma Ham & Griddled Pineapple Tostadas aren’t quite pizzas but they’re not a million miles away either. As such, I think it’s a fair question to ask. When I was a child the answer would have been a quick and unequivocal “yes”. They’re bright and colourful, treading that line between main meal and dessert. If I was asked to prepare a buffet for a kid’s party there’s a strong chance that Hawaiian Pizzas would put in appearance. There’s also a pretty good chance that they wouldn’t hang around for long. From a purely flavour point of view what’s not to love about ham and pineapple together? It’s a flavour combination that straddles that delicious boundary between sweet and savoury. Nobody bats an eyelid at the chunks of pineapple in their sweet and sour chicken. Or, if you’re of a certain age, cheese and pineapple on sticks… But for some people, suggesting that it’s ok for ham AND pineapple to sit next to each other on a pizza is heresy.
Especially in certain restaurants it turns out. I started at University back in the late 90s, moving from Dorset to London in the process. When my family came to visit it was nice to be able to eat in the sorts of places that we just didn’t have back at home. One of those was the Pizza Express in Knightsbridge – where we went for lunch one day. My brother (a big H&P fan) asked if it would be possible to have pineapple on one of their fairly standard Ham pizzas. The rather disgusted response from the waiter? “This is an Italian pizzeria, not an American one”. Anyway, back to the tostadas – my favourite way of getting all the fun of a pizza with next to none of the effort. All you need is a spare flour tortilla, a hot oven a little bit of imagination. In most cases I’m happy to top a tortilla with a bit of tomato purée, a generous handful of cheese and whatever else I can find in the fridge. After a few minutes in the oven you get something crisp, tasty and ever so satisfying.
On this occasion I decided to pimp my tostada a little. With freshly griddled pineapple, Parma ham and some mixed salad leaves. Heating the pineapple in a dry griddle pan for a few minutes on each side does wonders for the flavour. Especially if it’s not super-ripe – when it can have a very acidic taste. A bit of heat (and a bit of char) turns it into something sweet and bursting with pleasure. Paired with some salty Parma Ham, and a decent cheese, it’s a match made in heaven. Anyone who doesn’t like pineapple on their pizza has clearly been getting it wrong all this time. They just need to up their game instead of turning up their nose!
Parma Ham & Griddled Pineapple Tostadas
Sweet griddled pineapple, salty Parma Ham and a crisp flour tortilla base make these tostadas a perfect lunchtime alternative to pizza. All of the fun, none of the faff.
Course: Light MealsCuisine: Light Meals Servings: 2 Calories: 423kcal
100 g Tomato Passata
1 tsp Dried Oregano
½ tsp Sea Salt
¼ tsp Garlic Granules
200 g Fresh Pineapple
2 Flour Tortillas
75 g Strong Cheddar Cheese grated
4 slices Parma Ham torn in half
Handful Mixed Salad Leaves
Balsamic Glaze optional
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
Mix together the passata, oregano, sea salt and garlic together in a small bowl. Put to one side. Cut the pineapple into 4 thin slices, around 5mm in thickness. Remove the skin and core, then cut each slice in half. Heat a griddle pan over a high heat, then add the pineapple slices and cook for a few minutes on each side until charred and warmed through. This really brings out the flavour and is worth the effort. Divide the passata mixture between the two tortillas, spreading it out to the edges. Sprinkle two-thirds of the cheese over the tortillas, again making sure you go all the way to the edges. Arrange the pineapple and parma ham over the top as you see fit. Top with the remaining cheese, then transfer to the oven and bake for 7-10 minutes until crisp and golden. Transfer to serving plates the top with the salad leaves and balsamic glaze.