Monday, January 26, 2009

Spicy Lamb, Grilled Eggplant & Pesto Pizza

Spicy Lamb, Grilled Eggplant & Pesto Pizza
Home Cooking

Not strictly Australian but I made this for Australia day so my intentions were there. The lamb ended up having a slight Moroccan twist and we know pesto is Italian. I don't know if grilled eggplant can be claimed by any one Nation's cultural cuisine but look, what's important is that the end result was good and maybe you'll feel inspired to mix similar flavors.

I didn't follow a recipe and the good thing about pizza toppings is that you don't need to. Just get the quantity right so that you can fit it all on your base (this is something I struggled with as I desperately piled my lamb onto the tiny pizza base). I won't bother specifying what elements of the topping is 'optional' because in essence, everything is optional. Just use whatever veggies you think will work.

Spicy Lamb, Grilled Eggplant & Pesto Pizza

Makes 1 small pizza (15cm diameter)

  • 150g lamb mince
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt, pepper to season
  • 1 small eggplant, very thin slices
  • 1/2 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 1/4 small tomato, pulp removed and finely shopped
  • 1 mushroom, sliced
  • handful of mozzarella cheese
  • pesto
  • pizza base

1. I fixed up the lamb component of the pizza first. I wanted a pre-cooked lamb mince to go on the pizza to avoid the situation of raw bits of topping with burnt pizza crust. Heat up some oil in a frying pan and brown/soften the brown onion.
2. Add the lamb mince to the onion and move it around till broken up & change of color is complete.
3. Season with salt and pepper + the spices (all to your taste)
4. Grill the eggplant either in a pan, on a tray in your oven or on the bbq. Very simply, heat up some oil in your utensil of choice, add the eggplants and turn when brown on one side. Don't wait till they're burnt, you just want a color change and for the eggplant to soften. This won't take long at all especially if you sliced thinly.5. Assemble your pizza. I started by spreading on the pesto. Then, added the mushroom, onions and tomato. A little bit of cheese was scattered over the top but I didn't go nuts. Finally, I piled on the lamb.6. Place the pizza in the oven (follow directions on baking below) and...
End result

Cooking pizza - general advice:

1. Preheat to 250 degrees Celsius.
2. Place your pizza on the LOWEST rack. The main problem with home-made pizza is that the crust may not cook through properly. Avoid this by making your topping easy-to-cook (precook anything that needs a long time) and keep your base near the lower heating element.
3. Depending on your oven, cooking time may be 10-15min. My pizzas are usually small so they don't take long at all. The base will puff up a bit when your pizzas are done and also, turn lovely and golden. If you have cheese in your topping, you should see it bubbling and golden.
4. Sometimes, in the last 5min, I know my base is cooked so I transfer my pizza to the top rack and let the topping get nice and crisp (good for when you have lots of cheese or sliced meat in the topping). Don't let it burn though.
5. If you're making multiple pizzas, you may want to do them one at a time so that they all have good access to the bottom-most rack. Although, you might have more confidence in your oven than I do in which case, experiment at your own peril :).

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