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Author Notes: This time of year, we love creating grilled pizzas with grilled vegetables. A combination we particularly love includes grilled eggplant and sautéed pancetta. Grilling the eggplant adds a smokey flavor that is enhanced by the pancetta. We grill tomatoes as a base for the pizza sauce. The dough is a Peter Reinhart recipe via Lapadia: http://food52.com/recipes/21944-grilled-martini-and-a-party —Bevi
Makes 2 pizzas, with extra dough for 2 additional pizza crusts
For the Pizza Crust and the Pizza Sauce, and the Grilled Eggplant
- 2 balls of pizza dough
- Wondra or corn meal
- 2 or 3 tomatoes
- 1 medium eggplant, skin on, cut crosswise into about 1 inch wide slices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup Pomi strained tomatoes
- 2 pinches Kosher salt, a pinch for the sauce, and a pinch for the eggplant
- 2 grindings fresh black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- A day in advance, make lapadia's pizza crust as instructed on the link provided in the headnote. I have made her crust both a day in advance, and the same day. NOTE: lapadia's recipe makes 4 crusts.
- Fire up your gas or charcoal grill to be preheated to about 350 degrees.
- Roll out 2 balls of pizza dough. I sprinkle my counter with Wondra to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll the dough out to your desired thickness - I like a thin crust. Place the dough on parchment paper, and brush with olive oil. Carefully flip the oiled side of the dough onto the grill, and cook for only a minute; while oiling the top side of the dough. Flip the crust. Do not over grill. Repeat with a second crust. Take off the grill and set aside.
- Cut the tomatoes crosswise and squeeze out the seeds. Brush lightly with olive oil and place on the grill for about a minute - until charred. Likewise, brush oil on the eggplant, and grill for about one minute on each side, until char marks develop. Take tomatoes and eggplant off the grill to cool, and then finely chop the tomatoes. Salt the eggplant, and then chop uniformly into 1/2" chunks. Set the eggplant aside as a topping for the pizzas.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and the red pepper flakes. Saute until the garlic is faintly brown, and then add the chopped tomatoes. Stir to combine ingredients, and then add the Pomi strained tomatoes, and the salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook uncovered over low heat until the sauce bubbles, and then simmer for about 10 minutes. Make sure the sauce is reduced and thickened to the consistency you like for pizza sauce - fairly thick and dense is my preference. Set the sauce aside.
For the Pizza Topping and to Grill the Pizza
- 4 ounces finely diced pancetta - I use Trader Joe's pre-diced pancetta.
- the grilled, chopped eggplant - about 2 cups
- 3 or 4 large handfuls of shredded mozzarella cheese
- cooked pizza sauce, portioned in half
- basil or arugula, torn into small pieces, optional
- 2 grilled pizza crusts
- Place a medium sized saute pan over medium heat. Fry the diced pancetta until it is lightly browned with a bit of crispiness. Take off the heat and place pancetta on a small plate.
- Place a pre- grilled pizza crust on a small metal baking sheet that will fit onto your grill. Smear the crust with half of the pizza sauce. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella cheese, followed by half the eggplant, and then half the pancetta.
- Place the pizza on the baking sheet onto the grill. Cover the grill. Heat until the cheese is melted, and then pull from the grill. Tear some basil or arugula over the pizza if you like. Slice and serve, sprinkling on additional crushed red pepper. Serve with a nice salad.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe Cooked Over a Fire
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Grilled Vegetable Dish