Monday, September 6, 2010

Another Pizza

I never buy stuff at the market just because it's cute -- in fact, cute doesn't really enter into my esthetic much at all -- but in the past few weeks, I've been intrigued by these mini-eggplants that show up from time to time. What do people around here do with them, I wondered.

I still don't have the answer to that, but an idea came to me for something I could do with them: I love eggplant on pizza, and these guys seemed perfect.

I got some equally small tomatoes and got to work. First, I sliced the eggplants into coins and discarded the tops and bottoms. Then I lined them up on paper towels and salted them. When they'd sweat a while, I turned them over again and salted that side.

Then I wiped off as much salt as I could -- but I wasn't really scrupulous about it, because I had an idea -- and I sautéed them in olive oil until they were brown.

Then I let them sit, and sure enough, my idea panned out: they absorbed all of the excess oil and, when I tasted one, it was perfectly salted.

So I assembled the pizza, and this time I only made one mistake. The first layer was the eggplants, which I then squirted with garlic sent through my trusty garlic press. The next layer was the tomatoes, at which point I should have put the oregano on, but spaced. Next, a brand-new product from my supermarket: actual grated mozzarella from Italy. You don't know how much I dislike taking fresh mozz, cutting it up, and draining the water out of it when I make pizza, but if I don't, it'll make the crust soggy and the pizza a total disaster. I don't think, in retrospect, that I used enough of this stuff, but here it is, ready to go in the oven. (Note the oregano on top of the cheese: I would smell the flavor oils burning before I took the pizza out, dammit).

And here it is, ready to eat.

It was almost perfect. Not enough mozzarella, and you can see the burned oregano (the white cheese there is some parmesan, which goes on, with some olive oil, after it comes out of the oven), but since my taste buds seem to be about 85% back most evenings, it tasted just great. The eggplant sent some of its oil into the tomatoes, and some into the garlic, and the combined flavor was just as I'd imagined it. The biggest problem now is, how much longer can I get those little eggplants? Because I'd like to do this again, but not this week.

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