Daily Recipe: Grilled Eggplant and Broccoli Pizza
Our eggplants are beautiful.
So beautiful in fact that I can’t help but feature them again for the daily recipe. These black beauty eggplants (even the name is magical) are the perfect size, the perfect color and have the perfect amount of shine. Planted and harvested by the wonderful people from the Cherrywood Urban Patchwork Farm that’s in our front yard, you can’t get more local than this.
Eggplants belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, meaning its siblings include tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes. Like all vegetables, eggplants are full of vitamins and minerals. Much of the research around eggplants is focused on nasunin, the phytonutrient found in eggplant skin. Nasunin is an antioxidant that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with how to buy, store and cook an eggplant, here are some tips. You want to choose eggplants that are firm and heavy for their size. The skin should be smooth and shiny and their color should be vivid (they come in a variety of colors: white, purple and green). The stem of the eggplant should be bright green in color. To test for the ripeness of the eggplant, gently press the skin with the pad of your thumb. If it springs back, the eggplant is ripe. If an indentation remains, it’s not.
Eggplants are surprisingly sensitive to heat and cold. The ideal temperature for storage is around 50 degrees F. Don’t cut the eggplant before you store it, as it will spoil more quickly if the flesh is exposed.
So don’t be afraid to delve into the wide world of eggplants. This recipe is a good and easy way to cook the eggplant and when combined with roasted broccoli and fresh mozzarella, it’s like a little slice of heaven in your mouth (pun intended). We used Bona Dea gluten-free pizza dough mix because it’s delicious and it makes making pizza dough SO EASY.
Grilled Eggplant and Roasted Broccoli Pizza
From the Food Network
in.gredients for crust
- 2.5 cups pizza mix
- 2 tbsp flax (optional)
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 2 tbsp honey
- 3 tsp yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp vinegar
in.gredients for pizza
- 3 eggplants, about 3 pounds total
- 1 head of broccoli
- Salt and pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing on olive oil, plus about 1/4 cup
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- About 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
- About 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, coarsely shredded
First salt the eggplant and let drain for 30 minutes, then rinse and dry.
While the eggplant is being salted, you can prepare the dough and cook the broccoli. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Chop your broccoli and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook the broccoli for 10-15 minutes, until slightly brown. Remove and set aside.
To prepare the crust, proof the yeast with water and honey in non-reactive dish. Let sit for 10 minutes or until yeast is dissolved and foamy. Combine the flour, flax and salt. Whisk together oil and vinegar. Add to proofed yeast mix. Slowly mix flour into wet ingredients using mixer paddle of by hand until fully combined. Drop mixture onto greased pizza pan. Using wet fingers, press dough to edges of pan creating a fairly thin crush.
Now prepare your eggplant. Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and season with pepper. Toss the peppers with a little olive oil. Place both on a preheated grill, or use a grill pan. Cook until the eggplant has browned on the first side, about 3 minutes. The slices should be browned between the grill marks when ready to turn. Move them away from direct heat and cook on the second side until tender, about 10 minutes total. Cut the grilled slices into 1/2-inch dice.
Cook the peppers, turning as necessary, until charred all over. Remove the peppers to a bowl. Cover and let the peppers steam to loosen the skins. When cool enough to handle, peel, seed and tea into long, thin strips.
Now you can cook the crust. Bake for ten minutes and once you remove work quickly to assemble the pizza. Drizzle the crust with olive oil and then layer on cheese, grilled peppers and eggplant, cooked broccoli, kalamata olives, oregano and pepper flakes.
Return to the oven and bake for 15 more minutes or until toppings are cooked and top is brown and sizzling.