Eggplant is one of the most polarizing items. People either love it or hate it. Grilling the eggplant whole in its skin until soft and then puréeing it into a sauce maximizes flavor while avoiding textural issues. This sauce can then be used in place of a tomato or pesto sauce.
2 (12-inch) pizzas
Dough for 2 (12-inch) pizzas (recipe follows)
1 medium eggplant*
½ Vidalia onion diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus
2 teaspoons fresh chopped marjoram leaves, divided
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh chopped oregano leaves, divided
2 (3-4 ounce) balls fresh mozzarella, each cut into 8 pieces
Dash red pepper flakes,
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 to 6 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
*The flesh from a medium eggplant should make enough sauce for two pizzas, but if you only want to make one, the leftovers would make a great sandwich spread or dip.
- Prepare dough according to instructions below.
- Heat gas grill to 375 degrees. Prick eggplant several times with fork, then set on grill grates. Close grill lid and cook, covered, approximately 30 minutes, turning every 8–10 minutes, until tender and slightly deflated.
- Remove from grill. When cool enough to handle, but still warm, remove skin from eggplant. Rough chop flesh and transfer to food processor.
- Add onion, garlic, salt, and 1 tablespoon each marjoram and oregano, then blend until smooth.
- Meanwhile, place pizza stone on grill and close lid. Increase heat to 500 degrees, or highest temperature possible.
- On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to fit on pizza stone. Transfer dough to pizza peel or inverted baking sheet lightly dusted with flour or cornmeal to prevent sticking.
- If making 2 pizzas, repeat with other ball of dough.
- Spread each pizza with about ¾ cup eggplant sauce, or enough to cover to edges. Top with half of cheese and half of remaining chopped herbs. Sprinkle with pinch of red pepper flakes, then drizzle with half of olive oil.
- Carefully slide pizza from pizza peel onto hot stone (if using inverted baking sheet, use a long, wide spatula). Close lid and let cook 6–7 minutes. Cooking time will vary, depending on your grill and thickness of crust.
- If bottom of crust is browned but top is still undercooked, remove pizza from grill and transfer onto an inverted baking sheet. Place under broiler until lightly browned.
- Transfer to cutting board. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Cut into wedges with sharp knife or pizza wheel and serve. Repeat with remaining ingredients if making 2 pizzas.
Dough for 2 (12-inch) pizzas
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (can substitute whole-wheat flour for half of flour), plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon fine sea salt,
1 teaspoon active dry yeast,
½ cup water, lukewarm,
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided,Cornmeal, optional
- In small bowl, combine yeast and water and set aside for 1 minute.
- Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine flour and salt.
- Gently stir 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into yeast mixture, then add liquid to flour-salt mixture. Using a sturdy spoon, stir dough until just combined.
- Transfer dough to a floured surface, and knead until a cohesive ball forms. (If dough is difficult to work with, cover with a large bowl and allow let rest for a few minutes.) Transfer to a large bowl and drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over top. Coat completely, then cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.
- Place dough back onto floured surface and, with palms of your hands, punch out air from dough. Form it into a ball and return to bowl. Cover and set aside for 20 to 25 minutes to rest. Return to floured surface one more time to roll out.
Recipe BySteven Satterfield of Miller Union in Atlanta