Friday, August 31, 2012

Eggplant Pizza

by Sheila Connolly

I went to the Plymouth Farmers' Market (now being held weekly at Plimoth Plantation) this week, after a gap of several weeks (life kept getting in the way), and after coming home I was sorely tempted simply to show you lots of pretty pictures of fresh local vegetables and call it a day.  But I restrained myself.  So you'll get half pretty pictures and a recipe too.

I have also decided that, perversely, I like vegetables that are not whatever their standard color is.  Which is why I have red and yellow carrots, and purple and green tomatoes.  And a range of eggplant from near black to stripey, and some peppers that are yellow and orange striped.  Somehow I forgot to buy the purple long beans, but there will be other trips.

Now, if you go to all the trouble to go to a farmers' market and buy fresh local produce, you have a certain moral obligation to use said produce while it is still fresh.  I'll admit I have a tendency to buy a lot of pretty things that I have no idea what to do with, and often eggplant falls in that category.  I did not grow up eating eggplant.  I have been only intermittently successful cooking eggplant as an adult.  This time around I bought three kinds of eggplant.  Oh dear.

But I am resourceful!  I turned to (love that site!) and went hunting for eggplant recipes, and then I thought, I've got those gorgeous heirloom tomatoes that I'd better use before they turn to mush, so the search became "eggplant+tomato", and I found not one but two recipes for Eggplant and Tomato Pizza.  Except neither one was exactly what I wanted, so I made a mash-up:  I took the best bits of each and came up with something else.  And it worked!  So here's my locavore, vegetarian, eggplant pizza recipe.

Eggplant Pizza

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

1 pizza crust.  Okay, purists, you can make your own if you want, but I bought a package of ready-made dough from our market.  It was whole-wheat (they were out of the regular kind), but that turned out to be a plus, because the whole wheat added a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that went well with the rest of the ingredients.


2-3 Japanese eggplant (the long skinny kind)

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

Chopped tomatoes, draining

1 cup tomatoes, sliced (I used a single large gorgeous heirloom one)

2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed

Olive oil

Salt and pepper


1–1½ cups coarsely shredded cheese (I used a mix of fontina and mozzarella, with a sprinkling of Parmesan over the top to brown)

Since you are using fresh, slender eggplants, you don’t have to go through the salting/draining thing.  Slice your eggplants about half an inch thick.  Pour some olive oil (enough to coat the bottom lightly) into a pan and sauté the onions briefly, then the eggplant slices.  Reduce the heat and continue cooking until the vegetables are soft and slightly browned. Add a bit of salt and pepper. 

While the eggplant mix is cooking, slice your tomato and seed it.  Add your garlic, mix well, then set in a colander to drain (if you don't, your pizza will be soggy).

Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil.  Stretch out your dough (mine fights back).  It will be irregular, but who's worried?    Spread the eggplant-onion recipe in an even layer (leaving an inch or so at the edges), then strew the tomatoes over that.  Top with an even layer of cheese.

Assembling your pizza
Bake for about 15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and crisp.  Slice and enjoy quickly!


And the first apples of the season have arrived!


  1. Yum! I love cooking with eggplant, and the slim ones are the best (I first had them in Japan 35 years ago). Next year I'll be growing my own.

  2. Wow, Sheila, the colors are truly unique. Never seen them like that. Must check out a few more locals in my area to find some of these! Yummy!

    ~Daryl aka Avery

  3. That pizza does look delicious!

  4. I love homemade pizza. It's such a treat! And you're showing my favorite tomatoes, too. The yellow and red ones are the best. We've grown purple green beans, and they're great. But I was very disappointed with the purple tomatoes when I tried them last year. I'll be interested in your take on them.

    ~ Krista

  5. I'm with you (and Krista) on going for the non-standard colored veggies. Farmers' markets and fresh produce stands are a real treat, esp. at this time of year, and I try to get to the Union Square green market here in NYC whenever I can. Your eggplant haul is beautiful, btw, and the pizza recipe is a right fine idea for the end-of-summer harvests -- and an easy Friday night dinner. Thx for sharing and have a lovely, long Labor Day weekend!

    ~ Cleo

    P.S. I'm also extremely excited about the apples arriving. Come on fall!