Down in the south (where the Wife is from), they do things a little differently. While here in the foodie-laden northeast, eggplant is about as common as fatback is in the south, to some in the south, eggplant is as exotic as lychees were last year to your average northeastern foodie . Last summer, my mother-in-law had some extra eggplant, so she made eggplant parmesan for her neighbor, who is about as southern as sweet tea and fried anything. When my MIL brought over the dish, her neighbor, in her kindly, slow southern drawl said “thanks for the eggplant parma, parma, parma…..thanks for the casserole!” Gotta’ love them southern women!
According to the good folks at Wikipedia, eggplants are actually fruits. Not only that, but they’re classified as berries. As we all know, Wikipedia is never wrong. I mean, what are the chances of having incorrect encyclopedia entries when you let anyone with a computer provide content?? Ask my friend Bob. At one point, according to Wikipedia and thanks to one of our other friends, he was solely responsible for introducing Nantucket Reds to the D.C. fashion scene (I’ll let you find the link to that on your own!).
All kidding aside, a recent CSA share included, along with more summer squash and zucchini, Japanese eggplant, which are a lot smaller than your average supermarket aubergine and are purple and white striped. I’m not a huge fan of eggplant, but the Wife is, so I made this pizza for her (I know, I’m so sweet). Anyway, here’s the recipe:
- Basic pizza crust
- Basic red sauce
- One head roasted garlic
- About 4-5 medium Japanese eggplants, sliced into 1/4 inch thick coins (alternatively, you could use about 3/4 C slices of regular eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces and then cut into the size of a quarter or those weird gold dollars that look like Hanukkah gelt)
- About 1/2 to 3/4 C fresh mozzarella chopped or torn into inch cubes/pieces
- About 1/2 C shredded fontina
- Approx. 1/4 C fresh oregano (or other herb of your choice)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
- Cracked black pepper
- You first need to roast the garlic and eggplant
- Preheat the oven to 375
- While the oven is preheating, chop the eggplant and toss the pieces with olive oil, salt and pepper
- Spread on a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for approx. 25-35 minutes (until the eggplant has started to brown)
- Chop off the top of the head of the garlic.
- Put the garlic head in some foil, sprinkle on salt and pour on about 1 T olive oil.
- Roast (along with the eggplant) for about 35-40 minutes
- Once the garlic has cooled, squeeze out the roasted cloves and kind of mush together to form a chunky paste
- When all of the roasting shenanigans is done, raise the oven temperature to 550 (or the highest temperature available) and preheat for at least an hour
- At the same time, allow your dough to come to room temperature while the oven is heating
- After about an hour, spread out the dough and put on a lightly floured peel or baking sheet
- Top with red sauce
- Sprinkle on the roasted garlic
- Top evenly with cheeses
- Top with roasted eggplant
- Put into the oven on a preheated pizza stone and bake until cheese is nice and bubbly and the crust has browned
- Top with fresh oregano
- Dig in (while wearing your Nantucket reds)