VEGETARIAN PIZZA WITH JAPANESE EGGPLANT AND GOAT CHEESE
Makes 1 13-inch Pizza or 2 9-inch Pizzas
Veggie pizzas take all sorts of toppings, and CPK’s have certainly evolved over the years. This pizza is extremely satisfying because of the “meatiness” of the grilled eggplant and the tartness of the goat cheese.
For the grilled Eggplant
2 large Japanese eggplants
1-2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the sautéed White Mushrooms
8 ounces White mushrooms
1 ½ tablespoons Olive oil
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Pizza
1 bunch baby broccoli (broccolini)
½ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch ground black pepper
½ small, thinly sliced red onion
4 halves or 4 tablespoons julienne strips of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
1 pound traditional or honey-wheat pizza dough
6 tablespoons marinara/pizza sauce
2 ½ cups grated Mozzarella cheese
2 eggplants, cut per the recipe
½ cup sautéed White Mushrooms
2 ounces Goat cheese (Chevre; optional)
TO MAKE THE GRILLED EGGPLANT:
1. Cut the stem ends off the eggplant, then cut the vegetables lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Lay the slices on a cookies sheet and brush lightly-but thoroughly-with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn the slices and repeat.
2. Heat a charcoal or gas grill.
3. Grill for about 2 minutes on each side, or until well marked and quite tender (you may not need to leave them for the full 2 minutes on the second side). Use tongs or a grilling spatula to remove the vegetables to a large platter or cookie sheet.
TO MAKE THE WHITE MUSHROOMS:
4. Wash, dry and trim the mushrooms. Slice them ¼ inch thick.
5. Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add the mushrooms and toss to coat them with oil.
6. Lower the heat slightly and cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has evaporated and the edges begin to brown, 9 to 10 minutes.
7. Turn off the heat and sprinkle the mushrooms evenly with salt and pepper.
8. Use immediately, or cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
TO MAKE THE PIZZA:
9. Place a seasoned (or oiled) pizza stone in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees
Fahrenheit for at least 30 minutes.
10. Cut away the bottom of each broccoli stem at an angle. Starting from that point, cut the stems into 1 ½ -inch pieces, always maintaining the same angle, stopping 2-3 inches from the tops.
11. Blanch the broccolini in rapidly boiling water for about 1 minute. Using a wire skimmer, remove the broccolini and immediately plunge it into an ice-water bath to stop the cooking and retain the bright green color. Once the broccolini is cool, drain and pat dry.
12. Heat a small, heavy frying pan over high heat. Place the corn kernels in the pan and roast them, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
13. Separate the rings of the onion. Drain the tomatoes well and cut halves into julienne strips.
14. Roll and shape the dough into one 13-inch or two 9-inch circles and place on a floured pizza peel. If you are more comfortable working with one piece of dough at a time, you can shape and dress the second piece while the first is in the oven. If making 2 pizzas, split all the toppings in half.
15. Spread the sauce to within 1 inch of the outer edge of the dough. Reserve 1/3 cup of the mozzarella and distribute the rest over the sauce, reserving a small amount, to within ½ inch of the outer edge of the dough. Spread the eggplant over the cheese, followed by the mushrooms, onion rings, and sun-dried tomatoes. Sprinkle the corn over the other vegetables and top with the broccoli.
16. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the pizza. If using goat cheese, break it into small pieces and distribute over the pizza.
17. Transfer the pizza to the oven to the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese at the center is melted and bubbly. Slice and serve.