Friday, October 5, 2007

Pizza Melanzana

OK, back to the savories. And, of course, it has to feature my favorite, eggplant, and its summertime partner in crime, the cherry tomato.

It's still really warm in Baltimore, so my plants (save for the dead tomatoes) have been going strong and still producing food (albeit in meager quantities) for me. Yesterday, I went out onto my "balcony" to harvest some serranos, jalapeƱos, and habaƱeros, and I noticed that not only had my green bell pepper plants sprouted 5 new kids, but there were 3 medium sized peppers and an eggplant waiting for me! I had no choice but to cut them off and eat them.

Yesterday also happened to be the day that I ran across a recipe for what was proclaimed to be the "best pizza dough ever" (see here for my scaled-down version of it). I also had some other good pizza fixings on hand - a variety of cherry tomatoes from the farmer's market, fresh mozzarella, and homegrown basil. And that is how tonight's dinner was born. (I'm not posting the pepper pizza I made - but I probably will at some point in the future seeing as how fresh seasonal ingredients aren't extremely critical to its success.)
Pizza Melanzana
(makes one 9-inch pizza - serves one very hungry eggplant-and-tomato-loving girl)

1 dough ball (from this recipe)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half – I used a mix of sweet 100, sungold, and black cherry
1 large clove of garlic, quartered
1 medium sized purple eggplant, cut into 1/8 slices
1 large clove of garlic, quartered
Extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced ¼” thick
4 large basil leaves, torn into pieces
1. Put one rack on the lowest level of the oven and another on the second highest position. Heat the oven as high as it will go (most likely 550° F). *See the pizza dough recipe for specific instructions on handling the dough.

2. In a small pan lined with foil, toss the cherry tomatoes, 2 quarters of garlic, and a drizzle of olive oil. Spread the tomatoes into a single layer.

3. In a medium sized pan lined with foil, toss the eggplant slices with the remaining garlic, oil, and salt. Arrange the slices into a single layer, overlapping the slices slightly if necessary.

4. Put both pans on the upper rack of the oven. After 3-4 minutes, remove both pans from the oven.

5. In the meantime, line a cutting board with a paper towel that has been folded into thirds. Arrange the sliced cheese in a single layer on the paper towel and top with a similarly-folded paper towel. Put a pan on top and put a few heavy books on top. (You’re doing this to remove as much water as possible from the cheese – this will keep the pizza crisp.)

6. Pour the tomatoes into a sieve set over a bowl. Put the tomatoes back into the pan. Reserve the juices.

7. Using tongs, flip the eggplant slices over. Return both pans to the oven for another 3-4 minutes.

8. Drain the tomatoes as in step 5, reserving the juices.

9. Stretch the dough and place it on a peel or a baking sheet. (See this recipe for details.)

10. Spread the tomatoes over the dough. Top with the eggplant and cheese slices.

11. Bake for 6-8 minutes.

12. Top with the shredded basil and then let the pizza rest for 3-4 minutes before slicing.

13. Before serving, top each slice with a drizzle of the reserved tomato juices.


Deborah said...

I am searching for the perfect pizza dough recipe, so I am definitely going to try this one!!

Lilandra said...

i would love to eat that

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