The Alt-Pizza

I first made this for a good friend who had sworn off carbs for a while in order to develop a weight-loss plan. I promised her I could produce a pizza that would not yield a sense of deprivation. She swears she likes it more than a conventional pizza.

Then just yesterday, Anna Breslin posted a question about a gluten-free pizza. Her take on GF crusts is accurate: they taste rather awful and are pricey. Their consistency tends to be unpleasant because they are generally made with rice or corn flour, or a combination thereof. Both are flours that tend to be gummy under the best of circumstances, and produce a pizza crust that is so far-removed from the norm that one can’t help but be reminded that she is eating a pale imitation.

So here I’ve stepped outside the crust box entirely. Thin slices of oven-browned eggplant become a crust which can be topped just like any other pizza. It can be vegetarian or not. Omit the cheese as Meg does, and it is perfectly vegan.


1 eggplant

Olive oil

Sea or kosher salt and pepper

Pizza sauce

Your favorite soft cheese — goat, Feta, fresh mozzarella

Pepperoni, salami, and/or prosciutto, thinly sliced

1 tomato thinly sliced

Curls of red onion

Parmesan cheese

Fresh basil

Preheat your oven to broil.

Trim off both ends of the eggplant. Also trim off two opposite rounded sides. Don’t discard them, as we have a plan for them.

Cut the eggplant vertically into slices 1/4" thick. Lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Brush both sides with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.

Place them in the oven and broil them until a deep golden brown on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes per side.

Slice the tomatoes 1/4" thick — if your kitchen knife isn’t especially sharp, a serrated knife works well with tomatoes — and pare off some thin slices of red onion.

Once out of the oven, spread a scant tablespoon of pizza sauce over the surface of each slice of eggplant.

Reduce the oven to 425 degrees.

If you’re using meats, drape them on after the sauce, followed by your cheese of choice.

Finally, layer on the sliced tomatoes and red onion.

Finish with some dramatic curls of shaved Parmesan.

Bake the pizzas for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cheeses have melted and the top is lightly browned.

While the pizzas are baking, prepare your chiffonade of basil.

Remove from the pizzas from the oven when done and allow to rest for a couple of minutes.

To serve, cut each into 3 pieces arrange on plates or a large platter and garnish generously with the basil.

This fork-and-knife fare.

Coming next: Simple Basil Pesto

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