Eggplant Pizza (version III)

2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 package quick-rising yeast such as Rapid-Rise from Fleischmann's
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup barely hot water at 125F to 130F
olive oil cooking spray
1 medium eggplant, about 1 pound
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 medium tomatoes or 3 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Turn on broiler.

2. Put 2 cups of flour, yeast, sugar, and half the salt in the bowl of a food processor.

3. With the motor running, add olive oil and 1/2 cup of the water. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a ball.

4. Continue processing another 30 seconds to knead.

5. Spray a bowl with olive oil cooking spray and put dough in it. Spray again and cover with plastic wrap and a towel.

6. Set bowl in a warm, draft-free place. (If mixing by hand, knead dough about 10 minutes before setting aside.)

7. While dough rises, trim (but don't peel) eggplant. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

8. Spray a baking sheet that will fit inside the broiler with olive oil cooking spray.

9. Put eggplant slices on the tray and spray the tops.

10. Put in the broiler and brown, about 5 minutes.

11. Turn and brown other side.

12. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 500F.

13. Sprinkle eggplant with half the remaining salt and half the pepper.

14. After the dough has doubled in size (20 minutes or more), punch down and roll out the dough on a work surface dusted with remaining flour. Dough should be 14 inches in diameter for a thin-crust pizza, about 12 inches for a thicker pizza.

15. Place on a pizza stone, pizza pan, or on the back of a baking sheet.

16. Top with eggplant, then tomato slices. Sprinkle tomato with basil, remaining salt, and pepper.

17. Spray edges with olive oil cooking spray.

18. Bake 12 to 15 minutes for thin-crust pizza, adding cheese halfway through.

19. Add 3 to 5 minutes for thicker pizza. Pizza should be crisp and nicely browned underneath.

Makes 2 to 4 servings



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