Caponata Pizza, with Eggplant, Tomato and Onions
Caponata is an ancient Sicilian anitpasti offering, an eggplant- based stew that is usually served spooned on crostini, so using the familiar ingredients of this concoction to make an eggplant pizza seemed to me to be a natural direction to go.
Of course, like all of the ancient Italian cuisine, it has spread from its home base all over Italy, and all over the world, so there are hundreds of variations calling themselves caponata these days. To make this pizza I just reviewed a few caponata recipes online and in my cookbooks and then closed the books and shut down the computer and made this pizza from what I had on hand, following the basic idea of eggplant, onion, tomato, olives, etc.
The result was very good, earning an instant place on the short list of favorite pizzas around here. The bufala mozzarella complemented the rest of the ingredients nicely, and the combination of flavors, while familiar, was just unusual enough on a pizza to stand out as memorable. I'll definitely be making this one again soon!
2 small eggplants, cut lengthwise in 8 thin slices
2 T olive oil plus more for brushing the eggplant slices
1 medium onion sliced thin
5 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut vertically in thin crescents
1/2 stalk celery, chopped
3 anchovy fillets, chopped and then mashed with the side of a heavy knife
12 pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T toasted pine nuts
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
4 oz bufala mozzarella, cut in 8 pieces
flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish
1/2 recipe pizza dough
Combine the 2 tablespoons olive oil with the tomatoes, anchovies, celery, olives, garlic and balsamic vinegar and mix well. Set aside.
Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with olive oil and then broil or grill them about 2 minutes on a side. Set aside.
When the dough has completed its second rising, spread the tomato mixture over it, then the sliced onions. Bake on a stone in a preheated 450º oven 10 minutes. Remove and add the eggplant slices and cheese. Lower the temperature to 400º and bake another 10 minutes, until the crust is starting to brown.
Scatter on the chopped flatleaf parsley and toasted pine nuts before serving.