The Bell Kitchen

Eggplant Pizzas: Summertime Dishes in Prague

In the unforgettable words of Mr. Beauregarde from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “Violet, you’re turning violet, Violet!” has begged me lately, have I been that grating, consuming purple little butterball, too?
 
Julia Child's Tranches d'aubergine á l'italienne

Julia Child’s
Tranches d’aubergine á l’italienne

For me, an eggplant is like this summer boyfriend, right? My problem-free, perennial passion. He comes to town in the summer — he’s kind of uncomplicated and has that go-with-the-flow dude attitude you want every summer fling to have. It is like you are shopping one day and bam, you bump into him. “Hey, ‘sup? I just came back.” “Oh hey, eggplant, you are back, huh? Damn, and lookin’ fine, too.” Oh yes, this eggplant person is strong when you want him to be but can melt in your hands like mush. Versatile, he gets along with just about all your other friends, too. Did I mention he has a flashy tan and taut skin? Oh yes, your eggplant does. Mmm. Yum.So, summer is going great until one Tuesday in September you decide to check him out on your lunch break only to find that he up and left – gone. Sayonara, Adam. “Crap.. and we never even got baked together,” you sigh. Heartbroken, you look around with failure and something catches your eye — is it him?! Eugh! No! It’s those grandpa, tan-less, hairy, pasty parsnips staring you down, licking their lips. “Take me home with you!” Drop the basket and run. 

So . . . where was I? Oh right, cooking.
 
Eggplant, the lilac-lacquered summer vegetable that is versatile and plump, has been listed on every slip I’ve dug out of my shopping bag this last month. As summer is nigh, I have been pilfering the produce section of my grocery store at least 3 times a week. I’ve been eating eggplant 3 times a week, too, and coming up with different ways to prepare it so I don’t bore the you-know-what out of my household’s taste-buds (baba ghanoush, roasted, ratatouille, eggplant schnitzels, and more).
 
When selecting your eggplant, the skin should not be bruised or wrinkled and should bounce back when touched. It also should be firm with a taut skin and, to avoid bitterness, be no longer than 9 inches. The most common eggplant at the grocer’s is the “black magic” eggplant, recognized by its color and bell shape. Some recipes call for Sicilian, Italian, or Greek varieties but for me are a challenge to find (or afford) so the black magic eggplants will have to do!
 
Yesterday on my lunch break I was browsing the internet for a recipe or an idea on what to make for dinner (I also had an eggplant that was going to go off if I didn’t cook it in the next 2-3 days). I found Julia Child’s recipe for eggplant pizzas. “What the.. when did she cook Italian?” I wondered. Yet if it is Ms. Child, the queen bee of them all, you don’t ask questions — you wash your hands and get to work! If she had decided to soar to a new Italian height for a minute then I decided I must give it a whirl – and give it a whirl I did! It was so uncomplicated and ideal for a quick and warm after work meal.

 

1

Ready for some cheese then the oven!

Try this flavorful and extremely easy-to-make recipe by Julia Child. Prep time is only 10 minutes and once thrown in the oven, you can forget about it for another 25 minutes. What a healthy treat!
 
Eggplant Pizzas
Light and fresh idea for lunch or dinner
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. large eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch slices (appx. 2 centimeters Metric)
  2. 1 shallot, diced
  3. 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  4. 1/2 Italian pepper, diced
  5. 2 cups of tomatoes, about 7 medium-sized tomatoes (350 grams Metric)
  6. Olive oil
  7. Extra virgin olive oil
  8. Oregano
  9. Italian seasoning
  10. 10-15 fresh basil leaves
  11. 1/2 cup of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add the shallot and pepper. Sauté until ends are tender. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Sauté until juice starts to evaporate and cook the tomatoes down (add water if your tomatoes are not juicy enough). Add 3-4 chopped basil leaves and oregano liberally (add red pepper flakes, optional). Add fresh cracked pepper (about 4 cranks) and a pinch of salt
  2. Assemble the eggplant slices on the cookie sheet and wash with EVOO, add a pinch of garlic salt if desired, cracked pepper as well
  3. Add the tomato mixture and bake at 375F / 190C for 25 minutes. The eggplant should still retain it's pizza shape, and not get mushy
  4. After 25 minutes, add chopped basil then the cheese. Move to broiler and cook until cheese browns and melts. Garnish with fresh basil
Notes
  1. Serve with a warm baguette and small garden salad
The Bell Kitchen http://thebellkitchen.com/
 

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