It’s been a long time since we’ve talked about pizza here on Comfort du Jour, but this one deserves a mention because it is a beautiful marriage of two classic Italian foods we love in this house. Every bite had a little bit of everything we love about eggplant parm—the crispy coating, meaty eggplant and gooey cheese—and a little bit of everything we love about pizza, especially the blistery crust and tangy tomato sauce.
This mouthwatering pie also deserves a mention because its star ingredient was grown in the first genuinely successful garden we have had in several summers. I shared a lot of tomato recipes this year but didn’t get in as many raves about the beautiful Japanese eggplant we enjoyed.
Japanese eggplant tastes virtually the same as a typical “Italian” eggplant you’d see in the supermarket or farm stands, but its long, slender shape is distinctive and makes it suitable for smaller versions of things. My husband, Les, and I nibbled on miniature eggplant parm bites as an appetizer at least twice over the summer until he finally said, “hey, why don’t we put these on a pizza?”
Well, heck, yeah!
If you saw Les’s Veal & Eggplant Parm post a couple of weeks ago, you know that we achieved the perfectly crispy, cheesy exterior on the eggplant rounds with a careful breading—first flour, then egg wash and finally a seasoned panko crumb and Parm-Romano mixture before a dunk in hot oil. We did exactly the same with these mini eggplant slices, beginning with a 20 minute salt-and-rest time.
The crispy eggplant had plenty of flavor on its own, but we wanted to pair it with some complementary flavors, including soft, sauteed onions and a little bit of spicy sausage that I had left over from another recipe. I laid those down on a layer of shredded mozzarella, over our usual pizza sauce, with a few sprinkles of our Parm-Romano blend.
Then, the eggplant parm layer, and I spooned a bit more sauce right on top of each little medallion, then another good pinch of mozzarella to keep it nice and cheesy.
Into the 550° F oven on our beloved pizza steel, and six minutes later, we had this delicious Italian hybrid masterpiece!
This week, the temperatures in our area finally dipped below the frost point, and what was left of my summer garden is now history. I went out yesterday and plucked all the remaining green tomatoes (yep, we still had them coming in) and a whole bunch of jalapenos. This was a banner year for us in the garden department.
I can’t wait until next year! 😊
Eggplant Parm Pizza
This pizza was very fun to make, and a delicious marriage of two of our favorite classic Italian comfort foods.
- 1 Japanese-style “millionaire” eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
- Kosher salt (for sweating excess moisture from the eggplant)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with black pepper and garlic powder
- 2 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup Parm-Romano blend cheese (or regular, grated Parmesan)
- Neutral vegetable oil, such as canola (for frying eggplant)
- 1 ball pizza dough, at room temperature
- Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling on dough
- 2/3 cup favorite pizza sauce, divided
- 1/2 small onion, sliced and sauteed until soft
- 1/2 cup cooked, crumbled Italian sausage
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
- Arrange the eggplant slices on layers of paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and let them rest for 20 minutes, then use clean paper towels to wipe off the salt.
- Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Set up breading station, with one container of seasoned flour, a second with beaten eggs and a third with the panko crumbs, mixed with Parm-Romano.
- Dip each eggplant slice into the flour, then shake off excess and dip into the egg. Let excess egg drip from the slices and lay them into the panko crumb mixture, pressing panko onto each side for full coverage.
- Carefully place the breaded eggplant slices into the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pan. Turn the eggplant when the first side is golden and crispy. When both sides are done, transfer the eggplant to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil.
- Shape pizza dough into a 14-inch round. Drizzle with olive oil, then swirl half of the pizza sauce onto the dough. Top with 1/2 cup of the shredded mozzarella, reserving the rest for the top of the eggplant rounds. Scatter the sauteed onions and cooked sausage crumbles over the cheese layer.
- Arrange the crispy eggplant rounds onto the pizza, then divide the remaining pizza sauce and mozzarella over each round.
- Bake on pre-heated pizza steel for about 6 minutes, until crust edges are golden and blistered and cheese is melted and bubbling.