When one grows up in the great state of Wisconsin, one learns to appreciate the glory of summer. This year, I got into a habit of watching food documentaries on those cold winter Saturday mornings. Maybe it was me trying to be an environmentally/socially responsible individual. Maybe it was just my body wanting to marvel at all the fresh food it was missing from the summer months. Either way…that’s beside the point. The point is that it would just kill me when they talked about eating locally and seasonally. Yeah. That’s just great for them when they live in California and there’s a continual supply of fresh, flavorful produce. But for those of us who have winter about 8 months out of the year… we struggle. I decided I’m really going to try to make a point of it to attempt to eat more seasonally this winter. Really gonna try to get acquainted with those root vegetables. Maybe even try a rutabaga?! Workin’ on it. But for now, in this long-awaited season, I fully intend to embrace all that is seasonal and fresh around me. I’m loving being able to go to the farmers market, pick up whatever veggies look sexy and go home and make something of them…which leads me to my next point.
I bring you seasonal perfection in a bite. Naan pizza with eggplant and jalapeno pesto. I ask you, is there any element of this recipe that is not perfection?
The answer is no.
You must make this. You will be happy. And you will thank me.
It’s fast too!
Then, slice your eggplant and roast it until it’s golden brown.
In the meantime, spread that pesto all over your naan. Try not to eat it all before it gets to the bread!
Top your mini pizzas with the eggplant.
Next, slice your fresh mozzarella. Mozzarella can be tricky to cleanly slice, so I just pop it into the freezer for about 5 minutes or so. This firms it up a bit so you can get a nice clean, non-mushy slice. See?!
Sprinkle some red pepper flakes over the eggplant and top with all your lovely slices of mozzarella. Please don’t hold back on this. Fresh mozzarella is just one of those things in life that you cannot possibly have too much of.
Pop them in the oven at 425 degrees.
Bake about 8-10 minutes until the mozzarella starts to get golden and crusty on the edges.
Serve with a cold Wisconsin brew and enjoy your locally grown meal.
Naan Pizza with Eggplant and Jalapeno Pesto (adapted from cookincanuck.com)
- 2 cups cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 seeded jalapeno peppers, roughly chopped
- fresh juice of 1 lime
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/3-inch slices
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 pieces whole wheat naan
- red chile flakes (to taste)
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- In the bowl of a food processor or a blender, combine cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pulse to roughly chop. With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Blend until smooth.
- Preheat the broiler. Set the rack 2 to 3 inches from the heat source.
- Lay the eggplant pieces on a baking sheet lined with foil. Brush both sides of eggplant with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Place eggplant under the broiler and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Let cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes.
- Lower the oven rack to the middle setting and turn the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the naan pieces on an ungreased baking sheet.
- Divide the pesto between the pieces of naan and spread evenly. Top with eggplant, overlapping the pieces slightly. Sprinkle with dried red chile flakes and top with mozzarella.
- Place the pizzas in the oven and cook until cheese is melted and naan are starting to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes.