Friday, 29 May 2015

Raiding the Pan-try!

Pizza Rustica in Padella con Melanzane, Ajvar, Ricotta, Olive, Capperi & Timo
Rustic, Frying-Pan Pizza with Eggplant, Ajvar, Ricotta, Olives, Capers & Thyme

Another, "empty the fridge and fill your tummy" meal this evening... And a lazy one at that, using another roll of pizza dough from the supermarket ! Do you have any problems with that? Nope- me either!

If you do... Then off you go to make your own dough... Come and tell us all how much better it was in a couple of hours time when you are done... Me? I was finished in just 30-40 minutes at the most from start to finish.

Because, quite frankly, to start kneading dough, waiting for it to rise, kneading it again, cleaning up... and all the time that it takes to do so, is not something that I consider worth the hassle to make one person one pizza for a quick meal.

Nope... That's something to do for family and friends- this is the perfect solution for one or two people- to simply make a quick, tasty meal and chill-out whilst doing so.


I didn't have a tomato sauce either... Not a tomato in sight actually! But lots of incredibly rich and wonderful flavors that harmonize wonderfully together- all made from what are simple staples for the most of us.

Like I already said... I just raided my fridge and used what I had!

But if you haven't got these ingredients at home already, let me just say that you SHOULD have! Go out and get them and make this all the same! You'll love it!


So what did I have in my fridge this Friday evening? Let me see... The last of the mini eggplants I bought on Saturday that had to go- just a handful as you can see, the equivalent of one small regular eggplant. Then I had one very small onion, just 7-8 black olives, a couple of teaspoons of capers, a couple of tablespoons of both ajvar and fresh ricotta and some fresh thyme. A little salt, plenty of pepper and a hint of olive oil... And of course my circle of pizza dough... And I was on my way to having a wonderful supper... It didn't take much as you can see!

And yes, you know very well by now that I love to use the pan on the stovetop to get my pizza started baking from below and exposed to some really strong heat and high temperature... It's the best thing to do at home to get a similar result to extreme heat of a stone pizza oven. And it works every time, guaranteed, like a dream!


This first step may surprise you a little and sure, you could fry your ingredients... But what I do was to put my sliced onion and eggplants into a frying pan, with a sprinkle of salt and fresh thyme, turn the heat up high and then add a splash of water- just enough to cover the base of the pan. I then put on the lid and let them steam for a minute, then removed the lid, stirred them through and let the water evaporate away. Only then did I add a little olive oil. This way, the eggplant began to cook before it began to fry, turning it a little softer, making the pores of the eggplant swell up with that touch of water and preventing the oil from soaking in too much. The water evaporates away and cooks the eggplant and the oil makes the surface slightly brown. It's just the way I like to do it as I don't like my food too greasy and definitely would not like a greasy pizza!

After 3-4 minutes the onion will be translucent and the eggplant soft and just beginning to cook... And of course both will be infused with the flavor of the thyme... Mmmh!

Set to one side to cool, turn the oven on to full power to get hot, rinse your pan and get ready to put together your pizza!


Cut your dough roughly to size and lay it into the pan, folding over the edges a little to make them a little thick and irregular. It may not be hand made, but it can be assembled by hand and look that way!

Add a couple of spoonfuls of ajvar, spread them over the surface with the back of a spoon and scatter with thyme.


Next, add the ricotta, sprinkle with a little salt and spread around evenly, but not too thoroughly... It is nice to still have the two distinct flavors a little separate on there... It is the combination of everything together in the end that makes it special.


Now you can add the eggplants first, then scatter the onion on top, and finally the olives and capers. Add plenty of pepper and then pop on top of the stove to start baking the pizza from below for 4-5 minutes, before finishing in the oven at the highest setting you have for 10-15 minutes until finished and crispy and golden brown.


Add a generous sprinkle of fresh thyme before serving, for a blast of color and of course a great, intense flavor... And enjoy!


These are great Mediterranean flavors that go so nicely together... What's not to love? And as I always say... Pizza definitely does NOT always need to be a tomato and icky cheesy affair! Hehe! You know I am not a fan of the over-the-top cheese toppings... Don't hate me!  

Why spend time hating anything when you should be tucking into this wonderful snack here and falling in love with it? I promise you... You will! But I did first! Haha!

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