Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Eggplant Pizza

Happy Wednesday!

I'd be remiss if I didn't take a moment to acknowledge September 11, 2001.  It stuns me that it took place 12 years ago.  I remember being in college when the attack happened.  I couldn't believe what was going on and honestly, I didn't fully grasp what was happening until I went into the student lounge and watched the second plane hit.  There really are no words for what happened that day.

There's been a lot of pizza eatin' in my household lately, and today's post is no exception.  I saw a recipe from Kaylin's Kitchen for Julia Child's Eggplant Pizza and I couldn't wait to try it out.

Julia Child's Eggplant Pizzas (Tranches d'aubergine á  l'italienne)
(Makes 3-4 servings or 6-8 appetizer servings, recipe adapted from one found in From Julia Child's Kitchen.)

1 globe eggplant, about 8 ounces and 9-10 inches long
about 1 T salt, for drawing water out of eggplant
about 2 T olive oil, for brushing eggplant before roasting
about 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning, for sprinkling on eggplant before roasting
10 large basil leaves, cut in chiffonade strips (optional)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/3 cup finely grated low-fat mozzarella blend
hot red pepper flakes for sprinkling finished pizza (optional)

Sauce Ingredients:
2-3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 can good quality petite diced tomatoes with liquid (or use 3 cups peeled and diced fresh tomatoes)
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning blend
1/4 tsp. dried oregano (use Greek or Turkish oregano)

Cut off both ends of the eggplant; then cut it into 3/4 inch thick slices (trying to make them the same thickness!)  Put the eggplant pieces on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle both sides generously with salt.  Let the eggplant sit with the salt on it for about 30 minutes to draw out the liquid.  (After the eggplant sits for 15 minutes, turn on the oven to 375F/190C.)

While the eggplant sits, make the sauce.  Heat 2-3 tsp. olive oil (depending on your pan) and saute the finely chopped garlic just until it becomes fragrant.  (Don't let it brown.)  Add the petite diced tomatoes, dried Italian seasoning, and dried oregano and let the sauce cook at a low simmer until it's thickened, breaking up the tomatoes with a fork as it cooks.  (Add water as needed, a few tablespoons at a time as the sauce cooks, keeping it hot by simmering at very low heat until it's needed for the eggplant slices.)

After 30 minutes, wipe the eggplant dry with paper towels (this also removes most of the salt.)  Spray a roasting sheet with olive oil or non-stick spray, lay eggplant slices on, brush the tops of the eggplant with olive oil, and sprinkle with dried Italian seasoning.  Roast the eggplant about 25 minutes (but "not so long that the slices become mushy and lose their shape" as Julia says.)

While the eggplant roasts, thinly slice the fresh basil leaves (if using) and combined freshly grated Parmesan and low-fat mozzarella blend.  After 25 minutes or when eggplant pieces are done, remove eggplant from the oven and turn oven setting to broil.  Spread a few tablespoons of sauce on the top of each eggplant slice, sprinkle with thin basil slices (if using) and top with a generous amount of cheese.  Put pizzas under the broiler until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.  (This took 6-7 minutes for me, but I was using a toaster oven and in a more powerful broiler it would probably only take a few minutes.)  Serve hot, with red pepper flakes to sprinkle on pizza if desired.

I've found that the secret to any good recipe with eggplant is to salt and roast the eggplant ahead of time. The salt takes away some of the eggplant's bitterness and the roasting makes it nice and tender. 

After roasting

After brushing the eggplant with olive oil and roasting, it was time to add the tomato sauce and cheese and pop them back in the oven for a few more minutes.

I couldn't stop eating these things!  And really, it's eggplant, so calorie wise, it's not so bad.  I calculated the nutritional information per slice of eggplant and came up with this:  Calories: 70, Carbs: 7, Fat: 5, Protein: 3, Fiber: 2.  Not too bad in my book!

Question of the Day:
Are you an eggplant fan?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie