Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mini Eggplant Pizzas, Julia Childs style

As soon as I saw a pin for mini eggplant pizzas, I immediately began creating the perfect pizza in my head-- spinach mixed with tomato sauce for a hearty base, thinly sliced mushrooms and chunky olives, bit o mozzarella, and some prosciutto or prawns on top. *How* had I never thought of this?! My mom used to make me and my siblings mini pizzas on English muffin halves after school, and these are just as easy and tasty-- but paleofied : )
mini pizzas loaded with spinach and veggies on an eggplant base
Apparently the idea originated with Julia Childs, America's favorite TV chef before TV chefs were a thing. This woman introduced French cooking techniques to the household cook, and we are forever grateful. Eggplant pizzas may not be French, but they are adorable, hearty, veg-based snacks that can easily make a meal. 

I give the recipe for what I made below, but feel free to adapt as you wish. A different protein, such as cooked beef mince (ground beef), turkey mince, or shredded cooked chicken, could be added to the tomato sauce base instead of prawns or prosciutto. Anchovies would also work well. Or go for pineapple and prosciutto if you're feeling Hawaiian. Your imagination is the limit. These would be great to make for a DIY eggplant pizza bar dinner party. Three little pizzas were filling enough for dinner for me, and one each would serve as a nice starter before a main meal. Enjoy!

Mini Eggplant Pizzas
Makes approximately 9 pizzas

1 large eggplant, sliced into 1cm-wide slices
1 14oz (400g) can whole, peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup frozen spinach, cooked (or wilt a few big handfuls of fresh spinach)
1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1/4 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons sliced ripe (black) olives
1/3 cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
9 raw prawns, peeled, deveined, and butterflied (split almost in half with a knife down the belly of the prawn)

Preheat the oven to 210C/ 410F. Line a large baking tray or cookie sheet with baking paper.

Place the eggplant slices on try baking tray and place them in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. 

Meanwhile, discard half of the liquid from the can of peeled tomatoes (or save for another use), and pour the remaining half into a medium sized bowl. Roughly chop chop (or pulse in a blender or food processor) the tomatoes, and add them to the tomato juice. Add the spinach and chili flakes (if using) to the tomatoes and mix well. 

Remove the eggplant from the oven and turn each slice over. On top of each eggplant slice, place a couple of tablespoons of the tomato mixture, spreading evenly over each slice. Next top with the mushroom slices and olives, then sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over each pizza. Top each pizza with a butterflied prawn. 

Bake the pizzas in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the prawns are cooked through and the mozzarella begins to bubble. Serve immediately. 

Pizzas will keep, covered in the fridge, for 2 days.