Tuesday, 13 January 2015

A Smash in the Pan!

Pizza in Padella alla Melanzane, Pomodorini, Gorgonzola & Crescione
Frying Pan Pizza with Eggplant, Cherry Tomatoes, Gorgonzola & Watercress


I always make sure to have an "emergency" roll of pizza dough in the fridge, every couple of weeks... just as I always have a roll of puff pastry... because you just never can tell when you are going to get that incredible urge and desire for something quick and yummy!

And you can always do something that is way better than anything those carry-out places have to offer- probably faster than they can deliver too!


And you surely know by now that my favorite way to make and bake my pizzas at home is in the frying pan- right? Because there is no way to get a faster, easier, or halfway as perfect crust in a regular oven than this! Get the heat right there where you want it- in the base, straight away on your stove top before finishing the top in the oven... it's not rocket science! It just works!


I decided on a topping of eggplant and sweet Gorgonzola cheese this time around- not the super-rich and salty one, but the milder version. I added a shallot for a little sweetness and richness of flavor, cherry tomatoes for a fruity contrast and watercress for a peppery, fresh finish to cut through the fat of the cheese and to make everything come together... a great combination, I must say!


And if that doesn't look totally delicious and inviting to you... well then I am sorry! And I shall just have to eat your share for you!


Normally, I always say that the nicest thing is when you have people to share food with... but sometimes, when things turn out to be really delicious and I am on my own... it is alright too! Haha!


To make this little beauty, I simply diced up the peeled eggplant and the shallot finely and cut the cherry tomatoes into relatively thin slices.


I then heated up enough water in my frying pan to cover the base and added the diced eggplant and shallot. I stirred them and let them cook-down until the water had all been absorbed or had evaporated away and THEN added a little olive oil. This makes the pores of the eggplant clog with water rather than oil, and the eggplant will now fry and become lovely and golden without getting soaked with oil.


I seasoned with pepper, but no salt, on account of how salty the Gorgonzola is and carried on frying until the eggplant was soft and the shallot translucent.

I then added the tomato slices and stirred them in gently, so as to not break them up, and let them warm-through and just become partly cooked, then set everything to one side to cool.

In the meantime, I turned on the oven to maximum heat and gave the pan a rinse, so that it would be ready to use in just a few minutes... exciting stuff this!


As soon as the pan was clean and cool, the oven nice and hot and the eggplant and tomatoes cooled-off too, I was ready to spread out my pizza base into my frying pan and to put my pizza together.

I spooned out the eggplant and tomato slices evenly and then added Gorgonzola, equally evenly in small "dabs" here and there. I am not a fan of having LOADS of cheese on my pizza- but of course, how much you add is up to you! I added plenty of freshly ground pepper, popped the pan onto the stove top at the highest setting for 3-4 minutes and then popped it into the oven for 9-10 minutes on the highest shelf, at the highest setting. And that was it!


The watercress was the secret- it was what made the richness of the Gorgonzola taste less "cloyingly so" and what added the certain freshness that I was looking for- and also- it made it different, fun and more colorful too!  


That looks mighty-fine to me!


All sliced-up for sharing... and yet strangely enough, I somehow managed to eat this all by myself! Who knew?


 Oh, go on then... there is a slice left for you after all!

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