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Grilled Eggplant-Feta Pizza

August 6, 2010

Ever in search of creative ways to use leftovers, I created this one last night, inspired by the Greek Garden from Jet City Pizza.  We made a Greek dinner for some friends on Monday, resulting in 1 eggplant that didn’t get used, some tzatziki-like yogurt sauce for the lamb and chicken kabobs, and some extra feta.  So I grilled the eggplant, made my favorite grilled pizza dough, et voila:  deliciousness and an emptier fridge for our trip to CA on Monday.  Everybody wins!

P.S. Grilled pizza is one of my favorite summer meals–it takes a little planning ahead but is so worth it!  Any toppings work, as long as they’re not too heavy for the dough, which is fairly thin.  My favorites:  pesto with sauteed veggies like broccoli, red pepper, onion, kale, spinach, etc.; the fig, arugula, prosciutto and goat cheese from May; caramelized onions drizzled with balsamic vinegar, roasted red peppers, and goat cheese or mozzarella.

Grilled Eggplant-Feta Pizza

Serves 2-4, depending on how hungry you are

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe grilled pizza dough (see below)
  • olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet onions (Vidalia, Walla Walla, etc.)
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2-3 oz. crumbled feta
  • 1/2 – 1 cup tzatziki or yogurt sauce (pre-made or make your own; see link above, but I recommend halving–maybe even quartering–the amount of olive oil called for)
  • cornmeal and extra flour for dusting

Directions:

1.  Cut onions in half and thinly slice.  Pour 1 tbsp. olive oil into a skillet over medium-low heat.  Caramelize the onions:  cook, stirring from time to time, over medium-low for about 40 minutes, until onions are brown and sweet and completely soft.

2.  Slice eggplant crosswise into 1/4 inch slices.  Spread slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides olive oil (do not drizzle, as eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge, and you don’t want greasy, soggy eggplant).  Place on grill over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes per side, or until grill marks appear.

3.  When toppings are ready, roll out the dough on a floured surface.  I make 2 8-inch-ish pizzas because 1 large crust is too unwieldy for our small grill.  Liberally dust rimless cookie sheet (or, in my case, the back of a cookie sheet and the back of a large cutting board) with flour and cornmeal.  Don’t skimp; the dough will stick and you’ll end up with folded-over and mangled dough on the grill.

4.  Once dough is on the sheet, you should be able to slide it onto the prepared grill.  Close cover and cook for 2 minutes or until grill marks appear.  Dough will bubble slightly; puncture any big bubbles with the spatula.

5.  With a big spatula, slide the dough back onto the cookie sheet and flip over.  Spread the tzatziki on the cooked side of the crust; cover with grilled eggplant and caramelized onions.  Sprinkle with feta.  Place back on grill for about 7 minutes (check periodically to ensure it doesn’t carbonize, as the first grilled pizza I made for my dad did). 

6.  Slice and enjoy!

Grilled Pizza Dough (this recipe is easily doubled or tripled)

from Pizza by Tony Gemignani and Diane Morgan

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg (2 ¼ tsp) active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup plus 1 Tbsp lukewarm water (90-100 deg. F), divided
  • ¼ cup rye, whole wheat, or spelt flour
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
  • ¾ tsp. table salt or 1 ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Directions:

1.  To make the dough using a mixer:  Fit a heavy-duty stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.  In the mixer bowl, stir the yeast into ¼ cup (not all of it!) of the warm water.  Add the rye flour and mix on low speed until combined.  Place a clean, damp kitchen towel to cover the bowl and let the sponge rise for 20 min.

2.  Add the remaining ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. warm water, the olive oil, salt, and flour to the sponge.  Mix on low speed until the flour is incorporated and the dough gathers to form a coarse ball, about 3 min.  Let rest for 2 min. and then mix on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky, about 3 min. longer.

3.  Even if the dough seems too sticky, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and knead for a minute or two until it forms a smooth ball, adding up to 2 Tbsp. additional flour if necessary.  Generously oil a large bowl (or use the mixer bowl), add the dough, and turn to coat all sides.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place the damp kitchen towel over the top. 

4.  Set the bowl in a warm spot (a turned-off oven or the microwave with the door closed is good).  Let the dough rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.  (If you’re making it ahead, at this point punch the dough down and put in  a large plastic Ziploc freezer bag.  Refrigerate for up to 12 hours.  Bring the dough to room temp before completing the final rise.  Alternatively, freeze dough for up to 3 months.  Thaw overnight in the fridge and then bring to room temp before completing final rise.)

5.  Punch down the dough, cover again, and let rise for another 40 min.  The dough is ready to be rolled out.

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