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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Roasted Eggplant Sweet Sausage Pizza

Summer is chugging along and we have started to actually get some weather that is enjoyable.  We have moved past our spring like June and July with 11 inches of rain in six weeks and temperatures in the 70's during the day and the 40's at night.  Mowing the lawn was twice weekly act of desperation rather than a weekly chore.  But, as the weather has changed a bit and the lawn mowing duties are now in a more manageable schedule, the farm markets are starting to sell their summer bounty.  Yesterday at my local market, one of my favorites was siting on the shelf: purple eggplant.

Yes, all eggplant is purple of varying shades.  The eggplant that most people associate with is the dark purple, almost black variety.  Our farm market also offers an eggplant that is a lighter shade of purple and an all white variety as well.  I like the higher shades better.  The skin is thinner, there are less seeds, and the taste is milder than their darker cousins.  For dinner, I was thinking pizza.  Roasted eggplant pizza to be exact.

First, I trimmed the stalk from the top of the eggplant, then cut lengthwise.  Half went back into the refrigerator and the other half I diced.

I tossed the diced eggplant with about one tablespoon of salt and placed in a small colander for an hour to remove the excess water.

After sitting for an hour, I rinsed the excess salt from the diced eggplant, then squeezed dry in some paper towel.  Next, I tossed with about one tablespoon of olive oil, placed into a cast iron skillet, and roasted in my oven at 350 F for about 45 minutes.

Yes George, there was shrinkage.  In hindsight, I should have used the whole eggplant.  Lesson learned.  By the way, I tried a piece of the eggplant at this stage.  Crispy, caramelized, sweetness.  I could have stopped here.  But, no, there was pizza to be made.

While the eggplant was roasting, I browned about 1/3 of a pound of sweet sausage, caramelized 1/3 of a medium sweet onion, sliced some fresh mozzarella, and created a white sauce with olive oil, 3 cloves of minced garlic, crushed red pepper, oregano, basil, and thyme (about 1/2 tsp each).  Time to build the pie.

I brushed my dough with the white sauce, then layered the cheese, eggplant, sausage, and onion.  My creation was now ready for the pizza oven.

Ten minutes later, I had a pretty sweet looking pizza pie!

Good stuff.  In hindsight, I wish I had used the whole eggplant.  The roasted bits added a nice crunchy sweetness to this pizza.  There is some work to be done in the future with this pizza.  I have some ideas.  Fortunately summer is not quite over and there is plenty of eggplant to be had, for now.

Thanks for stopping by,


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