The fall harvest is in full swing at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, including these beautiful speckled eggplants from Camas Swale Farm.
With the temperatures dropping, turning on the oven for pizza was appealing, and once I had it preheating, I thought I'd roast some toppings ahead.
Roasting the eggplant cubes gave them a wonderful caramelized exterior, while making them meltingly soft and creamy inside. They paired perfectly with melting chunks of feta and crunchy slices of pimento pepper. I can recommend this combination as a delicious harvest pizza pie.
Roasted Eggplant and Pepper Pizza
1 recipe of Jim Lahey's no-knead pizza dough (enough for four individual pizzas)
tomato sauce (preferably made with fresh rooms)
1 small eggplant per pizza
1 sweet red pepper per pizza
1/2 cup cubed feta cheese per pizza
fresh basil leaves for garnish
1. Prepare the pizza dough the evening before, according to Lahey's instructions. Combine 500 g flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon yeast, and 1 1/2 cups (350 g) water, and mix briefly in an electric mixer or by hand until combined into a ball. Cover and let stand for about 18 hours.
2. Cut the eggplant into 1 inch cubes. Toss the eggplant cubes with a sprinkle of kosher salt (about 1 teaspoon per eggplant) and leave in a colander to drain for about 15 minutes. Seed and slice the pepper. Cut the feta into 1/2 inch cubes.
3. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and insert a pizza stone if you are using one.
4. Squeeze the eggplant cubes in a clean dishcloth to remove released moisture and toss the pieces with a generous drizzle of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Insert into the preheating oven and bake for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through with a spatula, until the eggplant pieces are browned and soft.
5. Meanwhile, divide the dough into four balls, flour them lightly, and shape them according to Lahey's instructions (or use a rolling pin to roll them out on a silicone mat). Sprinkle polenta on a baking sheet or pizza peel and place the pizza dough on top. If you like, you can prebake the crust for 5 minutes in the preheated oven to ensure an extra crispy pizza.
6. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the dough, distribute over the roasted eggplant pieces, the sliced red pepper, and then cubed feta. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes until the crust in browned and the cheese is bubbling. Top with fresh basil leaves and enjoy.