Arugula is my husband’s favorite vegetable, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s inimitable peppery bite makes a great addition to almost any dish – a friend of mine eats baked potatoes solely stuffed with arugula for a filling, healthy lunch. This weekend we harvested much of the arugula from our small garden. Though the bounty was meager, my husband’s praise of this pizza tells me that I put it to good use.
The trick with taking foods generally considered “off-limits” – think pizza – and transforming them into dishes that you are proud to serve your family is to use high-quality ingredients that enable you to use them sparingly, as a compliment. For this pizza I used a fine cheese with great, aged flavor. Because of this, a sprinkling of the cheese was all that the pizza needed to have the flavor in each bite. If you find quality cheese out of your budget, keep in mind that the stronger flavored cheeses can stretch for many meals, making up the difference that you would save purchasing low-price, low-quality cheese.
For my grilled pizza, I use a small griddle pan attachment that fits nicely over the large eye of my stove. I recommend using one of these for ease of use and clean-up.
Ingredients (makes two single serving pizzas)
1 large handful of arugula, washed and patted dry
2 small eggplant
2 garlic cloves, minced
small hunk of fine cheese, grated
A few turns of the peppercorn grinder
A drizzle of olive oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2-3/4 cup very warm water
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon fresh or dried herbs such as parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary
1 pinch sugar
1. Thinly slice the eggplant and arrange on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil and broil them until lightly browned, 3-5 minutes (check the eggplant often).
2. When the eggplant is finished cooking, it’s time to begin making the crust. Add the flour, yeast and sugar to a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the herbs and enough of the warm water to make a good, easy-knead dough. If it is too sticky, add another dusting of flour.
Divide the dough into two equal parts. On a well-floured surface, roll each portion into a thin crust that will fit the size of your griddle.
3. After turning the heat to medium, drizzle a little of the olive oil on the griddle. Gently fold one of the pizza crusts in half to help transfer it smoothly to the griddle. Once on the griddle, unfold the crust and smooth it using a spatula. Let it grill for 2-3 minutes, and flip it over. Drizzle more olive oil on the grilled side, and arrange your toppings: the minced garlic, the cheese, the eggplant slices, and finally the arugula. Turn the heat off and transfer to a dinner plate before adding a few turns of the pepper grinder.