Sunday, 19 July 2009

Melanzane Baby Pizzas on a Whole Wheat Crust

Pizza as health food? Sure, why not. With a whole wheat crust and vegetarian toppings, this one comes fairly close to being virtuous. And the cheese? Well, that's dairy right? It has some redeeming values.
I promise you, if you get into the habit of making your own pizzas it will soon seem so easy you hardly have to think about it. You mix up your dough and all of a sudden you have all this time to do other things while it takes care of itself. Yeast is very helpful that way.
Homemade pizzas are also a great way to clean out the fridge. Leftover ham, chicken, stir fry.. most things can be turned into pizza toppings with a little imagination. My almost empty fridge had an eggplant just waiting patiently to star in a dish. This was it's night to shine!

Vegetables
This can be done in advance
Slice one eggplant into 1cm rounds
Slice one sweet onion and one green pepper
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
Grill or roast until nicely cooked through and starting to caramelize around the edges

Dough
Whole wheat pizza dough is great with some extra seasoning to avoid any bitterness from the flour.
2.5 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp instant yeast
1 cup tepid water
2 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tsp garlic salt
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp Italian seasoning
All purpose flour for finishing
Cornmeal for dusting

Combine all the ingredients, except for the all purpose flour and cornmeal, in stand mixer with dough hook. Let mix for about 5 minutes, adding a little all purpose flour if dough is too wet. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl.
Preheat oven to 450f.
Fit two baking sheets with parchment paper and dust with cornmeal.
Take the finished dough out, form into a ball on lightly floured board and let rest in an oiled bowl, rolling to coat, for 45 minutes to an hour - until dough has doubled in bulk.
Punch down and, on a lightly floured board, divide dough into 4 pieces and roll each out into a round, flat crust. Mine are about 6x8 inches, oblong so as to fit two on a pan.
Place the crusts on the prepared baking sheets, sauce liberally with marinara sauce, sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese, divide vegetables to top all the pizzas and finish with finely grated Parmesan cheese.
I made mine thin, flat crusts with toppings all the way to the edges.
Bake for 10 minutes and check on the pizzas, if the bottom needs more crisping move the trays to a lower rack. Bake for 5 minutes more or until done to taste. Wait a couple of minutes for the cheese to set before slicing.

Wondering what those orange rounds are? My homemade marinara has carrots in it.

I have taken an informal poll, and my compatriots agree that a pizza is definitely a form of open faced sandwich! So this sammie is for Souper Sundays.