Eggplant and I have been having a rough month. While the panini with grilled eggplant was wonderful, and the Strange Flavor Eggplant spread never fails me, it seems that every disappointing recipe I’ve encountered lately has also included this purple fruit. A few weeks ago, I roasted some eggplant, summer squash, onions, and red peppers for a Ratatouille with Penne; it turned into an unfortunate mushy mess destined for the disposal. I didn’t even roast the vegetables for the full amount of time recommended in the recipe. But I’ve been cooking long enough to know that not all recipes are winners, and when one fails, you have to shake it off and try, try again. So when I came across this recent recipe in Epicurious, I decided to give it a whirl.
When the pizza came out of the oven, it looked delicious – all pretty and colorful, with a layer of cheesy goodness, and a crispy, golden-brown crust. The taste, however, left something to be desired. I grilled the eggplant a little too long, so that’s on me, but overall the flavor was pretty lackluster. The olives were actually the high point, but I don’t think that adding more would have saved this one.
Eggplant, Green Olive, and Provolone Pizza
Adapted from Gourmet, August 2009
Yields 4 servings
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pound eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch thick rounds
pizza dough, 1 pound
5 ounces sliced provolone, cut into thin matchsticks
13 pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place baking stone in oven on bottom rack and preheat to 475 degrees F about 45 minutes to one hour before baking pizza.
- Stir together garlic and olive oil; let sit for 10 minutes. Heat grill pan on medium. Brush some of the garlic oil on both sides of eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Place eggplant rounds on grill pan and cook uncovered, six to eight minutes total.
- Meanwhile, sprinkle cornmeal on baking sheet; stretch dough into 12 by 10 inch rectangle and place on baking sheet. Brush top of dough with garlic oil.
- Place dough on hot baking stone and bake for about 10 minutes.
- Scatter eggplant, cheese, olives, and parsley over crust and return to oven until cheese is melted and pizza is heated through, about three to four minutes.
- Remove from oven and let rest for two to three minutes, cut into wedges or squares.