As I sit here eating lunch, it dawned on my that I never posted my eggplant pizza. How could I deprive my audience with these wonderful mouth-watering images? This was a super easy weeknight dinner for us. Dough courtesy of Whole Foods and the rest was prepared within an hour. Roasting the halves of several plum tomatoes in the oven on high tossed with olive oil for about 30 or so minutes. As the tomatoes cook, I quickly peeled and sliced my eggplant in tiny quarter slices, dipped them in egg and then coated them lightly in breadcrumbs. I placed them in a pan to fry in some canola oil on both sides then drained out on paper towels. Because the slices were so thin and tiny, this process was super fast. Once my tomatoes were done, I allowed them sit at room temperature for a bit as not to return them back to the piping hot oven so soon.
Rolling out my pizza dough, all I had to do was layer my fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, eggplant and give a quick drizzle of olive oil. I really enjoy a "non-saucy" pizza from time to time. Without the sauce, you can really taste all of the other ingredients. To be honest, the tomatoes are so juicy from the roasting, when you bite into them, they are a perfect stand in for the missing sauce. I topped my pizza with a few dollops of ricotta for a creamy pop here and there and then added a few torn basil leaves (reserving additional basil for after the pizza exits the oven as well).
The pizza cooks on your highest oven setting (usually 500) for about 12 minutes.
1 ball pizza dough
1 cup breadcrumbs
8 plum tomatoes
handful of basil
1 cup ricotta
1 ball fresh mozzarella
How To Heat oven to 400. In a large mixing bowl toss halved tomatoes with a healthy drizzle of olive oil, sprinkling of sea salt and course ground black pepper till all tomatoes are nice and slick. Lay tomatoes skin side down on a flat baking sheet and set in oven for about 30 minutes. **Note, some times may vary to cook a bit longer based on tomato thickness, oven brand. At 30 minutes what you are looking for is the beginning of a darker char on the tomatoes and a satiny caramelization. Remove tray from oven upon witnessing the change. I prefer to let this sit for at least 2-3 hours until room temperature but if you are in a hurry, sitting for at least 30 minutes will suffice.
Peel eggplant and slice in smell tiny, thin quarters. Place in bowl filled with cold water as you slice it. In two small bowls, fill one with cracked egg, mixed with a tiny bit of water. Fill the other with the breadcrumbs. Drain eggplant and pat dry with paper towels. Heat canola oil in a large frying pan (enough to cover the bottom of pan so that you have at least 1/2 inch oil). Dip eggplant slices in eggwash, then in breadcrumbs (shaking off excess crumbs). Place eggplant slices in hot oil and listen for sizzle. They should prob only take about a minute on each side until golden. Place fried eggplant onto a large baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Heat oven to 500 degrees. **Cooks note: I use a pizza stone that has been pre-heated for no less than 30 minutes.
Roll out pizza dough on a floured surface. I like to roll mine out as thin as possible. Start layering thin slices of mozzarella, eggplant, tomato scattered about to your liking. Scoop some ricotta using a teaspoon scantily around the pizza. Tear a few leaves of basil around and some shaved parmigiano. Drizzle with some olive oil. Bake in oven for about 10-12 minutes. When pizza is done, scatter a few more torn basil leaves around and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!