I’ve been drawn to fall colors as of late – deep emerald greens, navy that appears almost black, rich burgundies, and moody purples. I thought I desired these colors only on clothing, (I have been eyeing several emerald items…) but I have found my color choices have dictated my produce choices as well. Apparently, tomatoes are out and eggplant is in. My heart seems to swell every time I see a beautiful deep purple eggplant and until the boy cringes at the site of them, I will continue to bring them home with a vengeance. The latest eggplant incarnation involves pizza (apparently, I have yet to meet a vegetable I don’t like on pizza as evident here and here). This is not a delicate pizza in anyway rather, its bold and substantial which is a nice change of pace from most of the pizzas I make. The olives pair perfectly with the roasted eggplant; it gives the pizza a wonderful salty briny kick. The provolone gives a nice nuttiness to the dish and it also manages to hold the whole thing together which is necessary when there is no sauce! Paired with a salad and a cold beer, you have a wonderful meal.
Eggplant, Green Olive, and Provolone Pizza
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
I changed some things on this recipe. I decided to cater this more towards people who maybe don’t have grills so I roasted the eggplant in chunks in the oven. I found the eggplant needed a little more spice and heat so I roasted them with some red pepper flakes as well. I also roasted the eggplant the night before and I did a slow rise pizza dough so the whole dish could be assembled the night before and the next night the only thing you need to do is bake it! Cut into squares this also makes an excellent appetizer for a party (as I did this past weekend).
For the Pizza
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup olive oil
1 large eggplant (around 2 pounds), cut into 1 inch cubes
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
5 ounces sliced provolone, cut into short thin matchsticks (1 ¼ cups)
18 pitted green olives, sliced (about 1/3 cup) – I also used an herbed olive
Pizza Dough (recipe below for the one I used or you could use store bought)
Preheat the over to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the eggplant with the garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Pour the eggplant mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes until the eggplant is soft and slightly charred looking. (At this point the eggplant can be cooled and stored in the fridge until the next day.)
Increase the heat to 450 degrees (or if you are making this the next day preheat to 450 degrees.) Stretch your pizza dough into a large round (if using a pizza pan) or into a 12 by 10 inch rectangle if using a baking sheet (grease the baking sheet!). Top the pizza with the eggplant and olives and then scatter the provolone. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 10 – 12 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted.
Recipe from Gourmet
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
1 ¾ cups – 2 cups all purpose flour
¾ cup warm water divided (when you stick your finger it its not hot or cold)
1 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon olive oil
Stir together the yeast, 1 tablespoon flour, and ¼ cup warm water in a large bowl and let stand until the surface appears creamy, about 5 minutes. (If it doesn’t appear creamy, discard and start over with new yeast.)
In a stand mixer with a dough hook, add the yeast mixture, 1 ½ cups flour, remaining ½ cup water, salt, and oil, and mix until smooth (this can be done in a bowl if you don’t have a mixer). Stir in enough flour (about ½ cup) for dough to begin to pull away from side of bowl. (Dough will be slightly wet.)
Knead for about 8 minutes (can be done in mixer or by hand) until the dough appears smooth, soft, and elastic. Form into a ball, put in an oiled bowl, and dust with flour. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 ½ hours. At this point you can roll out and use the dough or you can put it in the fridge (covered with plastic) and use it the next day. Continue with the recipe above.