Grilled Eggplant Pizzas

Jun 20th

So grilling pizzas was something I hadn’t done yet;  I love pizza with a crispy crust, so I thought it was about time.

I made my same dough (see post for best pizza dough, in pizza section). Instead of dividing the amount into 4 large pizzas, I went with 8 individual pizzas. I was cooking for 5, so I left 3 rounds rising in the fridge for another night (more on that later).

I had cherry tomatoes, 2 large eggplants, and ricotta cheese, so I decided to go for a veggie version.

Grilled Eggplant pizzas

Pizza dough, either bought or http://www.homebeccanomics.com/post/3552122678/best-pizza-dough-seriously

Olive oil

1 pint cherry tomatoes

2 eggplants

Kosher salt

Pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

Flour for dusting

Cutting boards

*This is obviously much more of an “idea” post than an actual recipe.

Wash and dry the ‘maters.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat with about 3 tbsp. olive oil for at least 5 minutes. Place tomatoes in pan, give a quick stir, and then let them cook.

Give them a nice sprinkling of kosher salt and pepper.

Let them cook, shaking the pan a bit, until charred and wrinkly, like so.

Smash up a bit with a spoon and taste for salt. Add more if needed.

Meanwhile.. the eggplant:

Cube eggplant. Heat large saute pan with 4 tbsp. olive oil. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Don’t let it get much browner than you see in the picture below.

Add eggplant and mix to coat.

Stir occasionally with the heat on medium high.

Keep going: You want the eggplant completely tender. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste. The tomatoes and the eggplant should both taste GOOD on their own.

Once my eggplant and tomatoes were done, I loaded them into a big bowl and mixed them together. I kept it out at room temp and heated the grill to medium.

There are my happily risen 5 little dough balls!

Keep what you’re not rolling out yet covered under a clean dry towel.

Roll out two balls and spread one side with olive oil. Place on grill, olive oil side down. CLOSE GRILL LID. Check after about 5 minutes.

When bubbles form, remove, grill side UP, onto a cutting board.

Either back inside the kitchen or right next to the grill (if you have space), dress up those pizzas.

I spread a very thin layer of sauce, next the eggplant and tomato mixture, and finally topped with grated mozzarella and dollops of fresh ricotta cheese. I had fresh basil growing right there as well, so I tore that up and sprinkled it on (which I was glad I did.. gave a great flavor punch).

I found that I didn’t need to put oil on that second side. I had no problems with sticking. I’m sure there was oil left on the grate. Slide pizzas onto grill and close the lid again. Wait five minutes and check.

Pizza is done when the cheese is melted.

If you want the dough to get more charred and the cheese more bubbly, leave it on longer! Feel free to check and re-close until it’s JUST how you like it.

Have salt on the table when you serve these, as well. I think one thing home cooks don’t do as much as restaurant cooks is SALT their food. The reason we think restaurant food tastes so great is because they use WAY more fat, WAY more sugar, and WAY more salt than we do at home. They can have their fat and sugar but I’ll take the salt! Salt’s chief job is to bring out the flavors of the food it is on. Eggplant tastes more eggplanty with salt on it!

You could use any veggies/meats you want here, but make sure you cook them first, and thoroughly, because they are on the grill for a short time. Make sure each of your ingredients taste good on their OWN; that’s how you can ensure it will taste good all together.

OH! My remaining 2 dough balls are holding up GREAT in the fridge. For dinner the other night I tried to cook a pizza in a skillet. I don’t have a cast iron pan but my calphalon non-stick worked just fine! I put a few tbsp. olive oil in the medium heated pan, rolled my dough to fit, and layed it in there. When it was browned I flipped it and topped it. I let it cook until browned, and then I placed it under the broiler to melt the cheese. It was a thicker crust than normal but it was TASTY. Kinda like pizza hut pizza, with that oily crust? YUM.

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