Monday, February 16, 2009

Nightshade pizza pie

For my most recent bookclub I made eggplant pizza. I deliberately blanded it because one of our members is pregnant & I have heard women-in-that-condition can have sensitive stomachs. My aunt was so sensitive she could not cope with the color red. Then mom-to-be was not there & we all had duller-than-usual eggplant pizza.

Eggplant is one of the nightshade vegetables we should all avoid because...they are shrouded in superstition. I sometimes get confused & call them the hemlock vegetables. I do not know why. I have never gotten confused & called them the belladonna vegetables. I am not one of those people who learns from my mistakes; instead I seem to learn to make the same mistake over & over again. I used to have the most convoluted route to Brainard airport because the first time I went, I got lost & for the next ten years I got lost in exactly the same way every time. Fatiguing.

I do not seem to have this problem cooking; I never seem to memorize a recipe wrong, although I have had trouble reproducing results. This is how I make Nightshade Pizza Pie:

First you need to make the dough. I have a bread machine. I make a yeast dough, so it continues to rise while I am making the pizza toppings part. You do not have to make your own dough, or even 1/2 make it like I do. Let's start again:

Have dough. & spread it on your pizza stone or pan or whatever you use (A likes to set pizza directly on the oven racks. yes, our oven is a mess). I got a head of myself again. If you are making dough, start the dough, but if you are not, go straight to the eggplant.

-cut up a single, medium sized eggplant into bigger than your thumb but not too big pieces. Rinse them & set them in a colander to drain. I turn a dessert plate upside down & put the flour canister on top if it the press them a bit, but I doubt it really makes a differences. I leave it like this for 20+ minutes so that the eggplant can dry, which DOES make a difference later (that the eggplant not still be wet from the rinse, I mean).

- thinly slice as much garlic as you think is a good amount. I like three cloves, for blander-than-bland I used one. Melt the garlic (when I said thin, I meant thin, GoodFellas thin) in a light oil.

- if you are not making your own dough & adding the basil to the dough, you want to add it now. For blander-than-bland I skipped this step entirely. It was pretty bland. How much basil is up to you, less is more if it is baked into the dough vs in the oil.

-add the eggplant to the garlic, mix well for a minute or two. Turn the heat down to medium, cover. Start checking back after 8 minutes or so, you are looking to see that the meat of the eggplant has started to break down but is not yet mush. You will know it when you see it, I promise.

- now back to the dough. Spread it as thin as you can. Pinch the sides, if you like, but if you are using a yeast dough it will not make any difference in the end.

-smear a thin layer of tomato. Again, this is your choice: you can use leftover spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, something from a jar, etc. I prefer leftover spaghetti sauce supplemented with real tomatoes (i.e. from a garden, recently). In a pinch, salsa will do. You need it to smear evenly, so you might need to mix in up to a tiny bit of oil, but this is rarely necessary unless you are actually working with a paste. Leave yourself about 1/2 inch between the edge of the crust & the outside of the tomato smear.

-pile the eggplant straight from the pan onto the tomato covered dough.

-pile crumbled feta cheese on top of that.

- put it all into a preheated 400F oven for 20 minutes & serve immediately or when you get around to it. It is good hot, room temperature & probably cold. I do not know; even the bland version did not last that long.


  1. oops. This makes me sad that I missed it, but grateful for your concern, but also ironic because today? I made eggplant pizza with 1 japanese eggplant, 1/2 CUP chopped garlic, and a crust with 1 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp cracked pepper. I totally owe you one. Owen's ant bites are scabby and clearing, but now he has an ear infection. I need a vacation from my life.

  2. I am glad Owen is better. I hope your throat is too, I did not mean to scare you.

    & I am glad you like garlic becasue next months book club food will be Sephardic.