Deep Dish Eggplant Parmesan Pizza
|Still on my eggplant & zucchini kick over here.. These two veggies alone make it easy for me to see how some people go vegetarian. Seriously. I haven't missed beef very much these past couple weeks, which is way weird for me. heee!|
I sat down with my Cuisine at Home magazines again and picked out 3 or 4 recipes that I've got slated to try this week and next. My first was this Deep Dish Eggplant Parmesan Pizza. Unfortunately, it didn't thrill me. Although this is my fault, I kinda burned the crust. oops. I was shocked to see that this normally excellent publication that always shows you step by step instructions in making their recipes, including pictures, did not explain how long to blind bake the crust. Something I've never done before. It just said to bake it until it's golden.. well.. the damn dough is golden to start with and I didn't see much of a different goldeny difference after 10 minutes, so I went for another 5. It still didn't look much different from when I originally put it in the oven but I figured, jeezzzusssss it's gotta be done, right? Well it was.. probably too done, as after it baked the allotted time with the eggplant filling in it, the crust came out a dark brown.. like burnt dark brown. *sigh* The other not so great thing about this pizza was that there was no sauce used. You simply slather crushed tomatoes over your layers of cheese and eggplant. So the taste was closer to blah than anything else. I even salted between layers, figuring the crushed tomatoes weren't going to give much taste. Hmm.. So, I firmly believe, had I not overbaked the crust and had I used my marinara or my Aunt's simple pizza sauce, this would have been a fabulous new recipe for me. The good thing was, the 2 lbs. of eggplant called for was wayyyy wayyyy too much for my 10" cast iron skillet - so with the remaining eggplant and cheese, I layered in an 8" x 8" glass Pyrex dish with my marinara and THAT turned out fabulous. lol I will make this pizza again and I will make those changes, because the idea of this deep dish pizza is fabulous. They also give another version called Deep Dish Supreme pizza, which I might try as well. =)
For the Crust:
3/4 c. warm water (105º-115ºF)
1 TBS. sugar
1 pkg. (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsps.)
2 TBS. olive oil
Combine water, yeast and sugar. Proof until foamy, about 5 minutes, then add oil.
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. yellow cornmeal
2 tsp. kosher salt
Mix flour, cornmeal and salt in the bowl of a standard mixer fitted with a dough hook; add yeast mixture. Knead on low speed for 10 minutes, or until smooth. (If kneading by hand, knead for the same amount of time)
Form dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about one hour. Punch dough down and re-shape into a ball. Return to oiled bowl, cover and let rise again, about one hour.
Preheat oven to 450ºF. with the rack on the bottom; coat a 9" cast iron skillet with 1-2 teaspoons oil.
Divide dough in half; wrap one half in plastic and freeze for later use. Roll out remaining ball, line the prepared skillet, dock the sides to prevent puffing and blind bake. "Since the fillings are so dense, the crust must be prebaked or it will be raw and doughy on the bottom. So you need to "blind bake" the crust, like pie dough sometimes is. First, line the dough with foil, keeping the edges exposed, then fill the dough with dried beans. This will help keep the sides from collapsing during the first bake. After baking briefly, lift out the foil and beans. At this point, the sides will be set, but bake the crust again to cook the bottom. (If you have a pizza stone, be sure to use it here - it helps crisp the bottom crust even more.)" You see? It doesn't say how long.. so may the force be with you :D
For the filling:
2 lb. eggplant
2 c. all-purpose flour
6 eggs, beaten with 3 TBS milk
Vegetable oil, about 1" deep for frying
Salt to taste
6 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
2/3 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
1 c. canned crushed tomatoes
*Note: This recipe does not call for you to salt the uncooked planks of eggplant, let sit for 30 min. then rinse, to bring out some moisture and to tone down the bitterness of the vegetable. I don't know if it's necessary or not, but I took this extra step because I didn't want to take a chance of bitterness. It's optional though. =)
Peel eggplant and slice lengthwise into 1/4" thick planks. (I didn't peel mine and it came out just fine) Place flour and egg mixture into separate shallow dishes; line a baking sheet with paper towels. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
Dredge eggplant in flour, then dip into egg mixture. Fry eggplant in oil for about 15 seconds per side, or until golden brown. Drain on the baking sheet and season with salt.
Layer the eggplant, both cheeses and tomatoes 4 or 5 times into the crust, dividing items evenly among the layers. I only got about 3 layers.. quite possibly my eggplant and cheese slices were too thick? Finish top layer with mozzarella and Parmesan.
Bake pizza 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is brown and bubbly. Let rest 5 minutes so the cheese can set, before slicing.
They suggest serving this pizza with a Roasted Tomato Sauce spooned on top of each slice. Unfortunately, the day I made this pizza was the day my IP decided to take a crap on me and I couldn't get online to get the recipe, so I can not vouch for it's taste but I am including the recipe in case anyone would like to try it. =)
Roasted Tomato Sauce
8 cups (4 lb.) Roma tomatoes, quartered
1 cup onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, whole
2 t. kosher salt
1 t. red pepper flakes
1 t. sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
Preheat oven to 450°.
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large casserole dish.
Toss with olive oil and roast 35-40 minutes, or until tomatoes have softened. Remove from oven and mash with a potato masher, keeping tomatoes a bit chunky.
Stir in basil.
As if this post wasn't long enough *cough* *cough* I had a boatload of eggplant and cheese left over after overstuffing my pizza. So I made a mini pan of Eggplant Parmesan, layering the eggplant and cheeses like I did with the pizza, but instead of using the crushed tomatoes I used my marinara. I baked it at the 450º F for 30 minutes and like I said wayyyyyy up there.. it was fabulous :D