California Central Coast Recipes
Grilled Eggplant Pizzettes with Fresh Herbs
Grilled Eggplant Pizzettes with Fresh Herbs are the perfect solution for that pizza urge when it is Summer and you are not in the mood for baking. These are grilled and are so very simple and quick to throw together, it's almost embarrassing! But they sure reap the Ooh's and Ahhh's from everyone. They will steal the show!
Instead of a traditional dough crust, the little "pizzas" are made on slices of eggplant. The entire cooking process is done in a few minutes on a barbecue grill --a perfect way to kick off a backyard barbecue on a lazy summer afternoon. The high cooking heat of a grill also cooks the little pizzas quickly so that heat sensitive fresh spices like basil are not greatly affected by the cooking process. Your little pizzettes will come off the grill hot and fragrant.
If you like this recipe, you are going to want to have if often. So if you do not have a mandoline, now is the time to get one. It makes slicing the eggplant rounds fast and easy --who wants to work hard on a Summer afternoon?
This is supposed to be an easy recipe. There is no need to make your own tomato sauce. Any good quality simple lower sodium tomato sauce will work fine. Finally, I call for fresh herbs --especially basil and oregano, but in a pinch dry herbs will work too.
Preparation time: 10 minutesCooking time: 10 minutes
1 Medium Eggplant
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 8-oz. Can of Low Sodium Tomato Sauce
3 oz. Sliced Mild Provolone Cheese
Fresh Herbs , basil, oregano, etc...
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
1 Set up your barbecue grill and preheat it to high.
2 Clean and wash the eggplant. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice the eggplant into 1/4 to 3/8 inch rounds. Do not slice too thinly or the eggplant pizza's will be hard to lift off the grill.
3 Using a pastry or barbecue brush, lightly brush one side of each slice of the eggplant with the olive oil. Stack the slices as you coat them so that the uncoated side contacts the olive oil side on the slice underneath.
4 Place the eggplant rounds on the hot grill and lightly salt and pepper them on top. Grill for about 2 minutes or until the bottom side is lightly browned. Remove the eggplant rounds from the grill, and turn the grill heat down to medium and cover.
5 Flip the cooked eggplant sides up and cover each round with a thin layer of tomato sauce about a tablespoon sauce per slice depending upon the size of the eggplant. Tear the fresh herbs into pieces and place on top next. You can keep the herbs separate as I prefer to do, or mix them as you like.
6 Next tear the provolone slices into pieces and place on top of the herbs. The cheese should not completely cover the eggplant, you should see some of the herbs and sauce "peeking out." Finally dribble a little bit of extra virgin olive on top.
7 Pace the eggplant plant rounds back on the grill over medium heat (your grill temperature should be at about 400F now.) Cover and cook for two to three minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
8 When done remove and serve immediately.
These little pizzas will go with just about any low tannin tomato friendly wine. If you are serving fish afterward, a chilled Viognier would be an excellent choice.
If you are grilling meat next, try a young low tannin red Rhone style curvee at cellar temperature. It will lead you nicely to any red wine you might serve next.