Thursday, 18 April 2013

From the Pantry to the Pan...

Pizza con Melanzane & Pomodorini
Pizza with Aubergine and Cherry Tomatoes

Okay guys and gals- grab your frying pans, crank up the heat and turn on that oven... we are going to be having some yummy pizza in just a few minutes- and doesn't that sound like a good thing after such a long, hard day at work? You betcha it does!

This evening I had an egg-plant that demanded my attention, a handful of cherry tomatoes, a couple of Spring onions, one last chunk of Scamorza cheese and yep, you guessed it- a packet of pizza dough- the kind that comes ready-made, fresh and rolled. The outcome was inevitable of course- but this is how I went about making it...

First things first- the eggplant needed to be topped and tailed, cut in half length-ways and then cut into relatively thin slices- a little less than half an inch. I sprinkled them with salt and set them to one side whilst I thinly sliced 2 Spring onions and 3 cherry tomatoes... isn't it great when you can turn so little food into so much?!?

So- onwards, ever onwards! After 5-10 minutes, the eggplant will have begun to give off quite a bit of its juices, due to the salt- which is great, as this is all of the bitterness in their flavor that you do not want. Gently wring-out the slices as carefully as you can so as not to damage them and then pop them into a hot non-stick pan with just a little olive oil and and hint of crushed garlic. Sauté them for 2-3 minutes at a high heat until they begin to soften and brown and then add the chopped onion- it's all easy so far, isn't it? 

The cool thing is that it remains easy! Once the onion has become translucent and is on the verge of becoming brown, set the ingredients of your pan to one side, rinse it out and get ready to use it all over again... for the pizza base! Unroll the dough and cut it into a circle just a little too large for the frying pan, so that the sides are a little raised- this will give you a nice, golden outer-edge.

Next, decorate the base with the eggplant and onion slices, the cherry tomatoes and the grated Scamorza, Parmesan or whichever cheese you might prefer. Season with pepper, oregano and a little nutmeg and pop onto a hot stove-top for 3-4 minutes, until the dough begins to bake from below and change color- then transfer it to the oven for 3-4 further minutes at maximum heat and 1-2 under the broiler to get the cheese and crust nice and golden and crunchy... and simply delicious!

Once the pizza is finished baking, allow to cool for 3-4 minutes and then sprinkle generously with thyme for a little added freshness... and then get cutting and enjoy your first slice as quick as you like! And all of the remaining slices too! 

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