Our 23rd wedding anniversary was last Sunday. We went out to a local French restaurant and they had this fantastic appetizer special. I could have eaten several plates of it. I took this dreadful picture at the restaurant. The chef came out of the kitchen and was watching me. I told him I was in love with his wonderful eggplant pizza.
This recipe is loosely based Julie Child’s version.
Eggplant Pizzas (Tranches d’aubergine á l’italienne)
Serves 3-4 or 6-8 appetizer portions
1 medium eggplant
1 Tbs salt, for drawing water out of eggplant
2 Tbs olive oil, for brushing eggplant before roasting
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning, for sprinkling on eggplant before roasting
10 large basil leaves, cut in chiffonade strips (optional)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/3 cup mozzarella, grated
hot red pepper flakes for sprinkling finished pizza (optional)
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
15 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning blend
1/4 tsp oregano
Cut the eggplant in ¼” thick slices lengthwise. Put the eggplant pieces on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle both sides generously with salt. Let the eggplant sit with the salt on it for about 30 minutes to draw out the liquid.
Pre-heat oven to 375F.
Heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic just until it becomes fragrant. Add the tomatoes, dried Italian seasoning, and oregano 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, wipe the eggplant dry with paper towels. Oil a baking sheet with olive oil, lay eggplant slices on, brush the tops of the eggplant with olive oil, and sprinkle with dried Italian seasoning. Roast the eggplant about 25 minutes.
While the eggplant roasts, thinly slice the fresh basil leaves (if using) and combined freshly grated Parmesan and mozzarella. After 25 minutes or when eggplant pieces are done, remove eggplant from the oven and turn oven setting to broil. Spread a few tablespoons of sauce on the top of each eggplant slice, sprinkle with thin basil slices (if using) and top with a generous amount of cheese. Put pizzas under the broiler until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.