Would you look at this eggplant?
Eggplants, for me, are tremendously exciting and deeply satisfying at the same time. I can’t get over their brilliant purple hues – from dark, plummy violets to luminous lilacs and lavenders, I think eggplants are possibly the prettiest fruit I’ve ever seen, and that’s without being biased by the lovely velvety texture and mild, creamy taste.
Ok, I haven’t totally lost the plot. There is a reason that I’m waxing lyrical about eggplants, and it’s because this beautiful Angela Aubergine inspired tonight’s dinner: homemade oven-baked pizza.
To be honest, I would eat pizza a lot more if it wasn’t so unhealthy. It’s true that the kind you order on the phone or buy in freezer sections can be extremely high in fat and calories and carbs and just about every other tasty thing in the world – but if you make it yourself, you get to control what goes onto it and you get to use up all the vegetable odds and ends knocking around in your fridge.
This one is a relatively low-fat pizza and clocks in at around 250 calories. No, really.
Everyone’s got their favourite pizza ingredient, and I fully encourage random experimentation (the best pizza I’ve ever eaten had radicchio and truffle sausage on it). The one thing I will say is that the base is incredibly thin, so if you do want to place a lot of ingredients on it, you may need to double the base. Glue them together with a smattering of mozzarella.
While the mushroomy simplicity of pizza al funghi never fails to seduce me, I love the fiery heat of salami and the creamy texture of eggplant. The burst of colour that rocket lends completes the pizza, and my night.
5 cloves garlic
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Italian herbs
2 tomatoes, sliced (optional)
Pizza – obviously, all the toppings are optional, but here’s what I used:
1 wholemeal wrap (I used a sorj wrap, but you can use pita or an actual pizza base)
9 slices of eggplant (slice as thinly as possible so it cooks)
2 mushrooms, sliced
1 slice hot salami
Mozzarella cheese (I used bocconcini)
To make the pizza sauce, heat the oil over a low heat and crush the garlic into the oil.
Add the tomato paste, tomatoes and herbs with a little water and bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes have fallen apart.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and prepare the vegetables.
Assemble the pizza. Start with a small amount of the sauce, layer on the vegetables and salami and top with cheese.
Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
Top with rocket and serve with a large glass of red wine.