No. 197: Julia Child's Eggplant Pizzas

We may have overdone the eating a bit over the weekend.

First, I made delicious breakfast muffins with buttermilk as a base. You simply can't have just one.

Then, my mother-in-law (a lovely and creative cook) made us perfectly rare steak sliced thin with a blue cheese, onion, cream sauce. Oh lord, that sauce. It was all I could do to not lick the bowl clean. (I may have licked my fingers a couple of times. Sorry.)

By the time we got home it was time for faux fried chicken and peanut butter bites.

As you can see, not a lot of vegetables on that list. I'd love to say our snacks in between meals were nothing but fruit and air, but alas, not true.

Julia's Eggplant Pizzas

In an effort to get our weeknight menu back on track, I opted for an adaption of Julia Childs' tranches d'aubergine รก l'italienne.

What's that you ask? Why, it's eggplant pizza! But doesn't it sound so much lovelier in French?

Ingredients

1 globe eggplant, about 8 ounces and 9-10 inches long
1 tablespoon salt
Olive oil
3 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning (combination of dried parsley, oregano and basil)
10 large basil leaves, cut in chiffonade strips
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/3 cup finely grated low-fat mozzarella blend
Hot red pepper flakes
3 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes with liquid (or use 2 cups peeled and diced fresh tomatoes)

To make

Cut off both ends of the eggplant; then cut it into 3/4 inch thick slices, trying to make them the same thickness. Put the eggplant pieces on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle both sides generously with salt.

Salted eggplant

Let the eggplant sit with the salt on it for about 30 minutes to draw out the liquid.

While the eggplant sits, make the sauce. Heat some of the olive oil (2-3 teaspoons) and saute the finely chopped garlic until it becomes fragrant. Add the petite diced tomatoes, dried Italian seasoning and let the sauce cook at a low simmer until it's thickened, breaking up the tomatoes with a fork as it cooks.

After 30 minutes of drying, wipe the eggplant dry with paper towels. Spray a roasting sheet with non-stick spray, lay eggplant slices on and brush the tops of the eggplant with olive oil, and sprinkle with dried Italian seasoning.

Ready to roast

Roast the eggplant about 20 minutes, but "not so long that the slices become mushy and lose their shape," as Julia says.

While the eggplant roasts, thinly slice the fresh basil leaves and combine freshly grated Parmesan and low-fat mozzarella blend. After 20 minutes, remove eggplant from the oven and turn oven setting to broil. Spread a few tablespoons of sauce on the top of each eggplant slice and top with a generous amount of cheese.

Put pizzas under the broiler until the cheese is melted and slightly browned, about 6 minutes depending on your oven.

Out of the oven

Serve hot, with red pepper flakes and basil sprinkled on top.

The results

When these were roasting away under the broiler, our house smelled like pizza. I swear it.

Eating these little pizzas was just as heavenly.

Eggplant pizzas

I would love to try the original version from Julia's kitchen. Something tells me they were divine.

Still, we feasted on these pizzas with no regret and were lucky enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day. Success!

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