Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
Eggplant Sourdough Pizzette
There are few things as satisfying as biting into a crispy, thin crust with a soft, chewy interior. Add flavorful saucy eggplant as in these whole sourdough little pizzas, and you’re in heaven. Rustic, simple, nutritious peasant food. I made the crusts with rye-whole wheat sourdough, but if you’re not a baker or don’t have time, no worries, you can use commercial whole wheat pizza dough.
Prep time 6 hours for the sourdough to develop plus 30 minutes
Bake time about 8 minutes
Makes 8 four by eight-inch pizzette
500 milliliters (about 2 cups) spring water
500 grams (about 3 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons) whole wheat flour plus more for dusting
100 grams (about 3/8 cup) very ripe rye sourdough starter
1 teaspoon aka (red) miso paste
Or 1 pound commercial whole wheat pizza dough
1 medium red onion, medium dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 young (smallish) firm Italian eggplant, cut in a large dice
1 28-ounce can of good quality, San Marzano tomatoes, chef cut or cut in a large dice, juice used to deglaze pan
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, rolled and cut in 1/8-inch slices
1/3 cup pitted kalamata or similar olive, sliced
2 to 3 teaspoons dried oregano
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon aka (red) miso paste or to taste
Garnish with additional dried oregano and/or mild Aleppo chili flakes.
Note: The eggplant sauce is not only great on these pizzette; use it over pasta, whole grains, baked potatoes, and polenta as well.
If you bake the sourdough crusts, feed your sourdough mother the day beforehand once or even twice so that it is very ripe for the pizzette. In a medium bowl add the water and flour, mixing it well. Cover and allow it to autolyze (hydrate and activate the enzymes in the flour) for about an hour. Mix in the sourdough starter, and after 10 minutes add 1 teaspoon miso paste, mixing it in well. Wet your hand and grab once section of the dough, stretching and pulling it up and over the rest before placing it down. Rotate the bowl 90° and repeat 3 to 5 times or the dough tightens.
Cover the bowl with wrap or a clean dish towel to prevent drying, place it in a warm corner. After 1 hour, stretch and pull the dough again and repeat once every hour for the next 3 to 4 hours. During its fermentation, the dough will swell, but not double in size, and become airier and lighter.
As the dough develops, let’s make the sauce. Heat a large skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the onion, stirring, and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the onion has released its liquid and begun to caramelize and darken the pan, deglaze the pan with some of the juices from the tomatoes, scraping up the onion sugars that have adhered to the pan. Add the garlic and after a minute, stir in the diced tomatoes and its juices. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes.
Stir in the diced eggplant and olives, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes or until the eggplants are soft and tender but not disintegrating. Stir in the basil, and season with pepper to taste. Cover and cook for the final 5 minutes to allow all the flavors to blend. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon (or more) to season the sauce to your tastes.
Preheat the oven to 550°F and insert a large pizza stone if you have one, on the middle shelf. Preheat the oven for 1 hour to allow the stone to fully heat up. (If you do not have a pizza stone, use a rimless cookies sheet lined with parchment instead, preheating it for 15 minutes.)
Flour a large board and using a bowl scraper, transfer the sourdough to the board. Since the dough is a high-hydration dough, it will be too wet and sticky to work with. You will need to incorporate more flour as you shape each pizzette to prevent sticking. There should be no need to add more flour to the commercial dough.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces, folding them gently, adding flour as needed, and shaping each into a soft ball. Place one ball aside. Roll the others in flour and return them to the bowl and cover. Use your fingers to gentlypat and stretch the first ball into an oblong. Leave the edges higher than the center to hold the sauce.
If the dough resists stretching, hold it up on side and allow gravity to stretch it. Pat with flour, flip, and continue prodding until you have a pizzette roughly measuring 4 by 8 inches.
Dust a pizza peel or long spatula with flour, place the dough oblong upon it, spoon on several tablespoons of the eggplant mix. Grind a little pepper on the top, sprinkle additional oregano, and place it in the oven on the stone (or parchment-lined cookie sheet).
Bake for about 8 minutes or until the dough has firmed up, turned golden, and darkened in places. Transfer to a cooling rack. As each pizzette is baking, continue shaping and filling each pizzette, adding them to the oven as soon as they are ready, until all your dough is used.
Pizzette are best hot right out of the oven. If you make them in advance, just pop them into a 500°F oven for 5 minutes to reheat and crisp up before serving.
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