I tasted eggplant pizza first time on my trip to Genoa, Italy about fourteen years ago. I was traveling solo and was a vegetarian during those years. Right behind the hotel, overlooking the Ligurian Sea was an old ship docked on the harbor, home to restaurants, shops, cafes and pizzeria. Most evenings after work were spent there to grab a shot of espresso followed by dinner.
Being a vegetarian in foreign lands could be a little hard and I used to keep ordering the same things – pesto pizza, cheese & tomato focaccia, eggplant pasta & pizza,lemon linguini etc. If it were not for those pizzeria and the piping hot pizza they served, I would have never learnt to eat eggplant this way. Yum!The pizzas were super delicious, though I must admit a bit lacking on spice levels for my indian palate. There is something about the combination of sweet juicy tomatoes, the eggplant especially their skins after they get cooked in high heat and the melt cheeses- mozzarella & parmesan- its such a harmony of flavors and textures in each bite.
I am a huge fan of vegetarian pizzas and you can say that this recipe combines the east & west. A robust spicy and tangy tomato chutney is used as a sauce on which I layer grilled eggplant slices, sprinkle parmesan and the flash bake it till the eggplant is just tender, still spongy and juicy to bite into. An amazing fusion recipe which is on repeat all summer in my kitchen since tomatoes and eggplant bounty is at its peak during this time.
You can make individual pizzas or a large 12 or 14 inch. Add more or less cheese, I leave it up to you.
Eggplant & Tomato Chutney Pizza
For the Tomato Chutney
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2-3 whole black peppercorns
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp split urad dal
- 1-2 dried red chilies
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger, roughly chopped
- 1 small onion roughly chopped
- 4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- pinch of hing
- 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 6-8 curry leaves
For the Pizza
- 4 personal pizza base (or 12 inch pizza base)
- 1 large egglant
- 2-3 tbsp oil
- Tomato Chutney
- Cheese – shredded mozarella & parmesan (as much as you like)
Make the Tomato Chutney
- Heat oil in a pan. Temper the oil with cumin seeds and peppercorns. Add the urad dal and crackle. Add the dried chilli and let brown a bit.
- Next add onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes everything together and sprinkle salt and sugar. Mix well and let cook on medium heat till the tomatoes are soft and mushy. Takes about 6-8 minutes.
- Transfer everything to a blender jar and blend to a thick smooth paste.
- In the same pan, add 1/2 tbsp oil and temper the oil with mustard & fenugreek seeds. Let crackle, add a pinch of hing and add the curry leaves. Once the curry leaves are crisped, add the tomato paste and cook everything for 3-4 minutes untill its saucy.
- Let cool and store in a air tight container for 8-10 days refrigerated. Use as you like.
For the Pizza
- Slice the eggplant into slices. Dont slice too thin or too thick. Cut into half if the slices are too big. Sprinkle with salt and let the eggplant slices sit for 10 minutes.
- Wipe eggplant with a paper towel and onn a hot gril pan or regular pan, add 2-3 tbsp oil and place the eggplant slices. Cook for 3-4 minutes on high heat on each side till the eggplant is little soft but not fully cooked. Take out in a plate.
- Preheat oven to 500F or the highest temperature your oven heats up to.
- Assemble the pizza- Place the pizza base on a pizza stone or place on a cookie sheet lined with a rack. Spread the 1-2 tbsp tomato chutney on top of the pizza bases, add shredded mozarella cheese. Layer eggplant slices. Sprinkle parmesan cheese. You can add a drizzle of oil at this stage as well.
- Bake for 5-6 minutes until the cheese has melted. Sprinkle with some chili flakes and serve warm.