It’s not really a pizza — that’s why, in the title, “pizza” is enclosed in quotes. But it is like a pizza because the eggplant “pizza” has a crust, and a tomato and cheese topping. In fact, it is like pizza Margherita because the topping consists of slices of fresh tomato, basil leaves and cheese. But it is not a pizza because the crust is a slice of eggplant cooked a la tempura.
So, to describe the dish again — a snack or appetizer that consists of fried eggplant slices coated with crisp golden bread crumbs topped with slices of fresh tomato, shredded cheese and chopped basil leaves. Once assembled, the cheese is melted with a kitchen torch to give it that melted pizza goodness.
Speedy’s idea although we made the pretty little things together.
There are three steps in making eggplant “pizza”. The first is dredging the eggplant slices in flour, dipping them in beaten egg then rolling them in bread crumbs.
The second step is frying the breaded eggplant slices.
The third part is topping the fried eggplant slices with tomato and cheese, and torching the cheese until melted.
- 1 eggplant (the large fat kind so you get wide slices)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 cup panko Japanese bread crumbs (don’t know if ordinary bread crumbs will work)
- 1 and 1/2 cups cooking oil for frying
- 2 to 3 tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded cheese (we used sharp Cheddar but feel free to use what you’ve got)
- chopped basil leaves as much or as little as you like
- Place the flour, egg and panko in bowls. Stir 1 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of pepper into each bowl. Arrange the bowls like an assembly line.
- Slice the eggplant. One-fourth inch thick works best — if too thin, the eggplant slices turn too soggy; if too thick, they have a tendency to be undercooked by the time the panko is nicely browned and crisp.
- Dredge each eggplant slice in flour making sure that both sides are coated.
- Then, dip the floured eggplant slices in the beaten egg — again, making sure that every inch of the surface is coated with egg.
- Drop the eggplant slices in the bowl of panko, pressing as much bread crumbs that the egg coating will hold.
- If you want an illustration of the last three steps, see the ebi tempura recipe.
- Heat the cooking oil. If you have a kitchen thermometer, 350F is ideal. I don’t have one; I just wing it.
- Fry the eggplant slices, a few pieces at a time to avoid the temperature of the oil from dropping too much. Flip the eggplant slices after a minute or so to brown both sides well.
- As each batch of eggplant slices cook, scoop them out and drain on a stack of paper towels.
- lice the tomatoes, about one-fourth inch thick, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and chopped basil.
- Place a slice of tomato on top of each fried eggplant slice. Smother with shredded cheese. Use a kitchen torch to melt the cheese. Alternatively, put under a very hot broiler for about a minute or two. Sprinkle with more basil and serve the eggplant "pizza".