Pithy Pizza

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I still had an aubergine ripe and ready for use yesterday, and my pizza senses tingled (a rare occurrence), so I decided to have my friend over for my healthier twist on the college pizza dinner.

I didn’t have time to make a crust from scratch but I also didn’t want to buy some flatly flavoured, frozen, ready-made base. Instead, I went with the Mediterranean theme of the aubergine, and went out to buy some whole grain pitas which would substitute the base. To that, I added a small container of fresh olives, fresh basil leaves, and Parmesan. I had everything else at home.

I started preparing for the pizzas about 45 minutes before my friend was due to arrive. The first thing I had to do – what I learned from watching my babushka – was drain the aubergine of its bitter water. So I cut the whole thing in disks, placed in a colander and sprinkled with salt. I left this in the sink while I turned on the top burner of the oven and prepared the rest, quartering up a few handfuls of grape tomatoes and adding to plenty of chopped basil, mint, and garlic in a sieve. While the tomato toppings also drained in the sieve, I sliced a few green and black olives and did a check on the aubergine slices, turning them around in the colander.

After 25 or 30 minutes, I got some paper towel and began to pat the aubergine disks dry individually, making sure to get as much water out. Then I lay them out on a baking tin and put on a high rack in the oven. I turned them around once and took them out when they were beginning to get golden about 7 or 8 minutes later. By this time my friend had called to say he was close, so I hurried to assemble the pizzas.

I put 4 pitas down on a bigger baking tray, brushed them with olive oil, and layered the aubergine, cut in half-moon size, at the base, filled with tomato and herbs, and scattered with olives, and shredded the cheese over the top. With a final sprinkle of black pepper, I put the pizzas in the middle of the oven. My friend arrived just in time to see me put the pizzas in the oven, and about 15 minutes later…:

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This took me as much time to make as a delivery or pizza run would have taken, and was much healthier!

Plus I had one left which I happily devoured, cold out of the fridge, this morning after a night of heavy drinking – just like first year of undergrad, really…

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