Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Couple of Firsts

Today I did two things I've never done before- eaten eggplant and thought it was ok and cooked a pizza on the grill (well, I grilled the eggplant, Greg actually cooked the pizzas). This week being blue and purple fruit and veggie week, I wanted to try something new or that I hadn't had in a long time. I've only had eggplant one other time that I know of and I didn't really care for it, so that was my choice. (Side note, even the cashier at the grocery store was amazed to see someone buy an eggplant. She picked it up, commented that she'd never had any and said, "How DO you cook these, anyway?")

The eggplant was part of the pizza experiment. The BYU Wellness website had a recipe for Grilled Pizza with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Feta. I'm not usually one for eggplant or Feta, but Greg thought it sounded interesting because you cooked it on the grill. So, we tried it to day along with chicken salad sandwiches because I knew there was no way the kids would like it and they didn't! Lo and behold, you CAN cook fresh pizza dough on the grill. You roll it out thin and place it on the grill for a minute or so (until it firms up a bit). Then you turn it over, put on your toppings, and leave it alone until every thing's heated through and the dough is completely cooked. I never would have guessed it would work. Now, we just need to try it with some toppings the whole family can enjoy!

How was the pizza? I'd have to give it a big ok. Greg seemed to really like it. It thought it was ok if I had a bite of tomato with any eggplant, but didn't care for the eggplant by itself. We both could have done with less, or even no, mint. I'll post the recipe in case there are any other brave souls out there who want to surprise the cashier at the grocery store by buying an eggplant and then have some way to use it. Also, our grill is big enough that we could cook the 4 pizzas almost at once and it worked fine.

Grilled Pizza with Eggplant, Tomatoes & Feta
Make 4 servings, one 6-inch pizza each

1 pound Whole-Wheat pizza dough or other prepared dough (we just used regular homemade, white-flour dough)
1 large eggplant (about 1-1/4 pounds), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 2 oz.)
4 Tbsp chopped fresh mint, divided

1 Prepare dough. To cook pizzas on a charcoal grill, build a medium-hot fire in one half of the grill (two bricks placed end to end work well as a divider). For a gas grill with two burners, preheat one burner on high, leaving the other unlit. For a single burner gas grill, preheat on high, and lower the flame to cook the second side of the pizzas.
2. Toss eggplant slices with 1 Tbsp oil in a large bowl. Sprinkle the slices with salt and pepper and grill, turning often until tender, about 8 minutes. Let cool; chop coarsely.
3. Combine the chopped eggplant with tomatoes and feta cheese, 2 Tbsp mint and the remaining oil in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
4. Roll out the pizza dough into 4 circles and place on a floured cutting board. Bring the dough, toppings, and a pair of tongs to grillside.
5. Place 2 of the dough circles on the hot side of the grill. Within 1 minute the dough will puff slightly and the underside will firm up and be striped with grill marks. Use tongs to flip the crusts over and onto the cooler side of the grill.
6. Distribute half of the eggplant mixture on the crusts after turning. Cover the grill and cook, rotating the pizzas once or twice, until the toppings are heated through, about 5 minutes.
7. Remove the pizzas from the grill. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the remaining dough and toppings. Just before serving, scatter the remaining 2 Tbsp mint over the pizzas.

Nutrition Information:
Per serving: 409 calories, 14 g fat (3 g sat, 8 g mono); 5 mg cholesterol, 61 g carbohydrate, 13 g protein, 10 g fiber, 889 mg sodium, 858 mg potassium

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin c (45% daily value), Folate (29% dv), Potassium (28% dv), fiber (22% dv).
3-1/2 carbohydrate servings


Doreen said...

I think eggplant is very popular here. They even sell white ones. I've never cooked it. Maybe I should give it a try.

Baby Oven said...

You brave soul! I like vegetables but I'm pretty sure I won't venture into the eggplant world. I do know that Grandma Ruth loves them though. Guess that's not genetic. :)

Keith and Nicci said...

That actually sounds good to me, but we don't have a grill so we'll stick to Barro's for now:)