Sunday, 11 August 2013

aubergine, courgette and tomato bake thick-base pizza - a random recipe



... as we all know by now The Viking has some strange ideas about food... too numerous to list here but it begins with the fact the he's always felt that food is fuel and so not worthy of the 'fuss we all make'... and ends with the fact that he's so 'left-field' as a human being he absolutely hates trends of any kind and will go out of his way to avoid them... he's also very proudly working-class and this is most definitely what influences his food choices and which, all wrapped up, leads me neatly into this post... you see he despises thin-crust pizza, particularly the trendy wood-oven type... I know for a fact that he would prefer to tuck into the thick dough of a pizza hut pizza rather than stand in a queue for anything we may think more worthy of his hard-earned dollar...



aubergine, courgette and tomato bake thick pizza
obviously anyone with even half the knowledge that I have of Delia's Complete Cookery Course will know that i've diverted from the recipe ever so slightly... well i'd say less diverted from the actual recipe rather than it's what i've done with the final product that's changed... so yes, a bending of the random recipes rules but only to get it from plate to mouth... my excuse, if you need one, is that Delia recommends the dish as an accompaniment to lamb, which is all very well but a little dull to serve by itself for a vegetarian meal... using it this way has given it a life of its own and a nice twist to the classic pizza topping... and is also one of the reasons why this book is my 'grab and run' book as the classics are so good you can play with them to your hearts content, knowing they'll be failsafe... i'm using wholemeal flour for the pizza base because that's what I had in the cupboard but feel free to substitute for white flour

for the aubergine bake
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small knob of butter
1 medium onion - finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic - crushed with salt
fresh herbs of your choice
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1 aubergine - cut into chunks
1 courgette - cut into chunks
2 x tins of chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

for the pizza dough
500g strong white bread flour
325ml luke warm water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fast action dried yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons caster sugar

extra cheese of your choice for the topping - i've used mozzarella, Lincolnshire Poacher (of course) and a new goats cheese that has been made locally by a friend of a friend, it's called Yarborough Blue and it's gorgeous!

start with the aubergine bake by gently sauteing the onions and garlic in a little olive oil and butter, add an abundance of fresh herbs and the all spice and let the whole thing gently turn golden for about 15 minutes, then add the aubergine and courgettes, stir it around, turn up the heat and let the pieces brown a little as they begin to soften

after about 10 minutes add the tomato, balsamic and sugar, stir and reduce the heat to the very lowest and let it slowly bubble away for at least an hour if not longer - place a lid on and let it cool

make the dough by adding the oil, yeast, salt and sugar to the water and leaving for 5 mins whilst you sieve the flour into a large bowl

add the water and bring the flour together with your hands then knead for about 10 mins until the dough is soft and silky... place a damp tea towel over the bowl and set aside whilst the dough doubles in size

if your ready to build your pizza, knock back the dough, split in two and spread out the dough into a large pan or oven-proof dish... I've used a classic sponge rolly-polly pan but any flat dish with shallow sides will work... cover in cling-flim and set aside whilst you pre-heat your oven to 200C

once the oven is hot pop the dough in for about 6 minutes, this lets the dough rise a little and cook slightly so you have a more bready consistency... after 6 minutes take it out of the oven, slather on the aubergine bake, cover in cheese - I used mozzarella and a creamy goats cheese - and bake for about 15 mins until golden and bubbly


a couple of months ago the fine people at pelia sent me some samples of their cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and with one thing and another I totally neglected the poor little bottles sitting on my shelf... and what a mistake that was, having tasted the glorious stuff it was akin to leaving liquid gold to the dust-bunnies and cobwebs... it's a beautiful product that you can tell the moment you open the bottle as the sweet and slightly grassy aroma hits your nose... ideal for salads as it has a very clean taste and perfection for pizza dough... you can find out more here.

this month's theme for random recipes is 'grab and run' and the rules can be seen here...

eat and of course, enjoy!


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