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Love.

Love.

Love.

This.

Pizza.

Must make this pizza again and soon!  I loved everything about it – the crunchy little eggplant bites, the melty cheese, and an easy pizza sauce.  I used the leftover eggplant the next day on a panini with fresh mozzarella, the leftover pizza sauce, and basil.  It was delicious that way too!

It seems like a lot of steps and ingredients, but totally worth the effort.  In fact, I think this is going on the menu again for the coming weekend…

Eggplant Parmesan Pizza

For the eggplant:
3 Tbsp. canola oil

1 medium eggplant – cubed into 3/4 inch pieces (roughly 4 cups)

1 tsp. salt

4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 egg plus 2 egg whites

For the eggplant coating:
1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup regular bread crumbs

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. dried basil

Other:
1 pizza dough

Corn meal

1 cup mozzarella cheese

3/4 cup shredded Italian Six Cheese Blend

3 – 4 basil leaves, cut into thin strips (chiffonade)

For the pizza sauce (makes enough for 3 pizzas):
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place pizza stone on the bottom rack to begin heating it.  Line the bottom of a sheet pan with aluminum foil and coat with canola oil and set aside.

2.  Place the cubed eggplant into a strainer set over the sink.  Sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat well, and let sit for 5 minutes.

3.  Sprinkle flour one tablespoon at a time over the eggplant and toss until coated.

4.  In a medium bowl, whisk the egg and whites.  Add the eggplant and gently toss until coated.  Remove with a slotted spoon, making sure to shake off any excess egg.

5.  In an another medium bowl, mix together the eggplant coating ingredients.  Add the eggplant and gently toss until well-coated.

6.  Carefully place the entire contents of bowl onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into one even layer (make the eggplant pieces do not overlap).

7.  Bake eggplant for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping halfway through baking. (The eggplant should be crisp and starting to brown.)  Remove pan from oven and set aside to cool.

8.  Move the pizza stone to the middle oven rack and turn heat up to 450 degrees.

9.  Roll out or hand toss the pizza dough to about 12-14 inches diameter, thickening the edges to make the crust edge.  Sprinkle a handful of corn meal onto the pizza stone, and transfer dough to the stone.  Poke the center of the pizza dough with a fork to prevent bubbles.

10.  Bake dough for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove dough from oven (It should be firm and puffy, but not browning).

11.  Spoon pizza sauce on the pre-baked crust, to taste.  Then add shredded cheese and eggplant.

12.  Put back in oven on pizza stone and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes. For the last minute, raise the heat to broil and allow crust to brown. Watch closely so it does not burn.

13.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with fresh basil, slice and serve.

Source:  My Life as a Mrs.

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