Monday, 29 September 2008

Eggplant pizza (Μελιτζανόπιτσα)

Not all the family liked eggplant. Some of us like it in traditional Greek dishes like papoutsakia or moussaka, others like it with stuffed rice in yemista, while some don't like it at all. I love roasted eggplant. We recently barbecued aubergine slices at a beach party, and I've been hooked on grilled oiled aubergine ever since.

bbq kalamaki hania chania

Although the summer garden is not as proliferate as it was a month ago, eggplant and pepper bushes seem to be the most tolerant to cooler weather, and they are still doing very well at this time of year, even though we were recently drenched in sunless rainy weather.

(Swallows making their way in the rain to warmer climates)

We've pickled the excess banana peppers in vinegar (with a topping of salt before the jar is sealed), but the aubergines are causing me strife. Last night, when I realised I could fit nothing else in the fridge, I cut the big round variety into thick slices, laid them in a baking tin, drizzled olive oil all over them, and threw them into the oven, in the hope that, when they came out of the oven, I will have decided on how to cook them. The result was aubergine pizza.

You need:
4 large round eggplants
2 large tomatoes
2 large onions
2 large green bell peppers
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for drizzling
grated cheese (optional)

Slice the aubergine thickly, lay out on a baking tin (it doesn't matter if one slice is partly covering another one), drizzle olive oil all over them and place them in a moderate oven until they have taken on a golden cooked colour. Turn them over carefully so that they don't break up and do the same for the other side. They will need more olive oil, as aubergine soaks it up quickly (the same thing happens when they are fried).

Once they are cooked on both sides, layer them in such a way that they cover the whole tin, placing some on top of each other to plug gaps. The base of the tin will now be covered in the same way that a piece of pizza dough covers the base of a tin. Chop the onions into thin slices and spread them all over the aubergines. Do the same with the peppers. Season everything with salt and pepper. Now grate the tomatoes all over the vegetables. Sprinkle the grated cheese all over the tin. (I didn't add the grated cheese until the end of the cooking time for the 'pizza'; for a vegan/lenten option, this can be omitted entirely). Cook in a moderate oven until all the vegetables are cooked (no more than half an hour).

aubergine eggplant pizza

This is a fantastic way to serve aubergine, especially when accompanied by roast meat, which we usually cook on for the Sunday lunch.

And if you want to make this in the winter, the aubergine slices can be frozen individually when cool, and then packed in a plastic bag to maintain storage space in the freezer.

This is my entry for Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging hosted this week by Valentina from Trembom.

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