Jan Brauer

Unlocking the perfect pizza alle melanzane e spinaci

The Mighty Aubergine! –Yotam Ottolenghi

I just listened to the latest issue of Beats, Rye and Types. The hosts and their fabulous guest Sarah Minnick discuss the artisanry of making pizza and especially which topping they consider the most defiant. To my surprise they all agreed on the aubergine (or eggplant). Here I’ll explain how to create the perfect pizza alle melanzane or parmiggiana. I reverse-engineered this recipe from a pizza I once ate in Berlin at Il Casolare some time in the late 90s.

The show stopper for this recipe is to have a really good mandoline. I lately use a japanese one which I can highly recommend. If you don’t trust your slicer or mandoline don’t bother try. We’re aiming to cut the aubergine into slices no thicker than twice the thickness of your thumbnail. The aubergine is then salted and fried, and it should come out like thick potato crisps with some soft bits.

Here’s the recipe.

Slice the aubergine lengthwise as thin as you can (it should still hold its shape). Add plenty of salt mix and let sit in a colander for 30 minutes. Carefully squeeze excess liquid from the slices and pat dry on kitchen towel. Heat plenty of oil in a large frying pan. Fry the slices until they nearly have a potato chips like consistency. (Eat half of it while doing it). Frying them takes some patience.

Prepare your dough. Add two spoons of sauce, sprinkle with oregano. Add mozzarella. Bake for 5-10 minutes (really depends on your oven). Pull the pizza. Add the sliced melanzane. Drizzle with some oil and add pepper. Top with the spinach leafs and the parmesan slices. Put back in the oven. Pull it out before the spinach starts wilting.