As owner and execute chef at Jordan’s, it is my job to keep in tune with the latest food trends and apply them to my menu. Our main focus is gigantic specialty burgers featuring locally raised and processed black angus beef, and dressed up pretty with seasonal produce (and local when available.) We also sell other bar fare – wings, pizza, deep fried pickles, sweet potato fries… But I try to keep the quality and presentation of everything to the point that you feel like you’re getting filet mignon on well… a ground beef budget.
Trends in my area of food service right now include craft beer, small plates with lots of options (think sliders or chicken skewers with a variety of dipping sauces), and wait for it…
Healthier options for very specific dietary needs (gluten free, vegetarian or vegan, Paleo even).
This is awesome for me because I love cooking like that. I love eating like that, even. Today I wanted to share with you one of our new featured specialty items that cover all of the above bases, and can be modified to be as healthy as you’d like and to suit any dietary need. Plus they’re fun to eat (and fun and easy to make, which is a blessing in a tiny restaurant kitchen on a busy night).
Let’s be honest here. Pizza is delicious. Although pizza crust is an excellent tool to get all the delicious toppings into your mouth, to me, an amazing pizza is really all about what you put on it. Cooked properly, sliced eggplant is an excellent substitute whether you’re trying to pinch some calories, avoid gluten, or in my case, just have an excuse to shovel more veggies in my mouth.
All you need to make these little pizzas are an eggplant, some pizza sauce, your favorite Italian seasonings, and toppings of your choice.
Start by slicing your eggplant into slices about 1/2 inch thick. I LOVE eggplant skin so I left it on. I’m sure you could peel it if you’d like. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil, and place your eggplant on it. Sprinkle liberally with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and oregano, and place in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes or so.
Once you remove these from the oven, smother with your favorite pizza sauce, and cheese if you so desire.
You can omit cheese if your dietary needs don’t allow for it. You can also use whatever type you would like. Feta always lends well to eggplant, but I stuck to mozzarella for my test run of this recipe.
Top your mini pizzas however you’d like. This is the best part if you are as indecisive as me. Today I made a cherry tomato, onion, and basil pizza, and a super healthy pepperoni and mushroom, as well as a jalapeño bacon one (what can I say, it’s a pizza party.)
Pop back in your oven, only this time set it to broil for about 3 minutes or until your cheese starts bubbling. I put mine in our pizza oven for 5 minutes or so, and this was my final result:
I think my customers are really going to love this pizza, not only because it is highly customizable and delicious, but it is a healthier alternative to our already amazing pizza. Plus 4 of these make a nice appetizer to split, or a meal that won’t leave you with that “I ate too much pizza hangover.” Easy quick meals like this are fun projects to do with your kids, or a good date night activity. You can make these as healthy or unhealthy as you want, either way, they’re going to be good.
Anyone out there tried these pizza variations before? What are some other non crusty pizzas have you made?