Or aubergine, or brinjal, whatever makes you happier 😛
I was browsing around for something to do with the remainder of my brinjal’s after I used them to make my eggplant lasagna (bobotie), and saw a few suggestions on using them to make pizza bites. Can’t let a good eggplant go to waste I say, so I set about making my own version. This, just like the breakfast egg muffins, is a great versatile recipe as it’s really down to your taste how you make your version – experiment, have fun! Here’s mine:
EGGPLANT / BRINJAL / AUBERGINE PIZZA BITES
1 x medium sized eggplant
Coarse sea salt
Butter / ghee
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 cup Ground almonds (you could use almond flour here – I just didn’t have any and I think this actually works better for some crunch)
1 Tbsp Chermoula seasoning from Woolies (anything that’ll add flavour without extra salt really)
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
1 onion, diced
1 tsp of garlic
2 Tbsp chili & ginger jam (as I said – versatile, use whatever you like here – I just wanted to add some interesting flavour)
Ghee as needed
4 shoulder bacon rashers
Mozzarella and cheddar cheese
First off, cut the eggplant up into half a cm slices, or as close to that as you can manage. Most NB, try and keep them consistent, and never go thicker than 1cm. Lay these flat on top of coarse ground sea salt, and then cover the layer with more coarse sea salt. This is to draw water out to ensure you don’t land up with soggy pizza bites.
You can see here the water that gets drawn from your eggplant:
I left mine “drawing” for an hour, and then wiped them down with paper towel to remove the salt crystals and excess moisture on the slices. Now you’ll want to coat them for their oven bake debut. In a large mixing bowl, mix together your grated Parmesan, ground almonds and seasoning of choice. A note here re seasoning – be careful not to use anything with added salt; as the brinjal would have absorbed some of the salt flavouring from its “drawing bath” beforehand. Now throw your slices in the dry mix and toss to coat thoroughly. The ghee mentioned above is used to coat the tray you’re using to bake your bites on, so go ahead and grease that up WELL (avoids breakage when flipping later on…). Preheat oven to 180 degrees (C).
Lay the slices flat on your now well greased baking sheet, and pop into the oven for around 15 minutes, and then turn them and do the same for the other side. You’ll want to keep an eye on your slices as varying thicknesses will vary in cooking time, and trust me when I say that the last thing you want are burnt to a crisp slices after all the effort you’ve already put in. You’ll cry. I did 😛
While these are in, prepare your tomato sauce base and fry your bacon. For the bacon, simply cut into little strips about 1cm wide and max 3cm long and fry in ghee until cooked. For the sauce base, combine all the ingredients you want to use in a hot pan, and let cook for at least 30 minutes – or until your “sauce” has reduced to a nice thick consistency. Remember, the eggplant itself by nature is soggy, so you want to avoid adding any extra moisture to your bites wherever possible. Once the sauce has reduced to a consistency you’re happy with, remove from heat.
You’re now ready to build your pizza bites! I placed just under a teaspoon of my tomato sauce (paste) onto each bite, topped that with a mix of grated mozzarella and cheddar (go mad here with whichever cheeses are your favourite), and then topped those with my bacon bits. Pop back into your oven for around 10 minutes, or until the cheese is nicely melted and oozing 🙂 And voila!! An awesomely tasty LCH friendly snack is born!