Eggplant Parmesan Pizza


Tonight’s dinner was a riff on this Cooking Light recipe.  And it was so good, on so many levels, that I am compelled to delineate them all.  Bear with me.

First up:  the dough.  I made the pizza dough from Baking Illustrated (using the half whole wheat flour modification) and let it rise in the fridge ~20 hours.  The dough was much easier to shape than the Bread Bible version, thanks to a healthy respect for gluten on the part of the formulators.  It was still a bit holey and uneven, but I am a pizza crust novice, so that’s to be expected.  It baked up deliciously, with an open, chewy crumb and a slightly crunchy crust.

Next:  the sauce.  For entirely frivolous reasons, I got a late start on dinner tonight, and I did not feel like making pizza sauce the old-fashioned way.  The major differences between tomato sauce, pizza sauce, and tomato paste are percent hydration and degree of seasoning.  So could I just dilute tomato paste?  Yes!  I didn’t have a few hours to let it steep, though, so I applied the time-temperature superposition principle.  (For the record, this is a chemical/diffusive process and not a viscoelastic one, so the temperature dependence is probably Arrhenius rather than Vogel-Fulcher.  And yes, I’m in the middle of comps, how could you tell?)  I sauteed the garlic in little olive oil, then added 6 oz high-quality tomato paste and 12 oz water.  I went with dried herbs rather than fresh, because they’d be improved rather than muted by the heat and liquid.  Long story short:  perfect pizza sauce.


Now for the veggies.  The yellow squash I used was from my garden, the very first vegetable to be harvested!  I salted and drained the eggplant and squash before using them.  This procedure is great for firming up eggplant.  I hoped it would do the same for squash, which has a tendency to get goopy in the middle.  The squash stayed solid through two roasting steps.  I don’t know if the salting and draining are to thank, or if this young, fresh squash (!) would have held its shape regardless.


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