Being on campus over the summer is weird. I expect it to have a kind of empty, hushed, library-late-at-night quality... but it doesn't. Sure, not everyone is here. But a lot of people are, and it's kind of bizarre to run into people in the hallways, or listen to tours breeze by, or stand and wait for the library elevator.
Grad school is funny that way-- like college (few responsibilities, learning) but also... not (revising a paper as soon as a draft is in, having an office, showing up at that office in July). So I'm reminding myself that it's summer by grilling pizza.
I just inherited my grill, so I need to make an active attempt to use it. So after making pizza last week, a lightbulb went off. Grill + pizza = grilled pizza. I have been prosthelytizing for everyone who has a BBQ to make this for years, so I decided to just do it. The days have been, somehow, packed-- reading and writing, biking here and there, errands, so by the time I was actually standing in front of the grill assembling the pizza, it was nighttime. Even without that sunshine-feel-good-beer-in-hand grilling thing, this pizza was a delight.
GRILLED PIZZA WITH GRILLED EGGPLANT
+pizza dough (make or buy)
+tomato sauce (optional)
+cheese (also kind of optional, but delicious) (I used mozzarella and cheddar) (but seriously, a minty goaty cheesey version of this pizza would probably also rule).
1. Cut a big ole globe eggplant into wide flat slices, like for eggplant parmesan. Meaty! I may have "way crazy oversalted" my eggplant. Salt your eggplant if you have the skills to do with without making the inside of your mouth taste like the bottom of the ocean when you are done. By that I mean cover the eggplant with salt and set it in a strainer to firm up, if you dare. After about half an hour, rinse the eggplant and press firmly between paper towels.
2. Or just go ahead and marinate your eggplant slabs in olive oil and some hot red pepper flakes and maybe Italian-y herbs (oregano, thyme). Or maybe mint, garlic, and lemon for aforementioned babaganoush goat cheesey pizza? Somebody do this and tell me if it's awesome.
3. Hopefully your timing is better than mine and it is daytime. Fire up the grill. Bonus points if you are wearing some kind of apron. Double bonus points for beer in hand. Quadruple bonus points for pizza BBQ party (the two best kinds in one!) and echoes of laughter and the Beach Boys.
4. Grill the eggplant, about 5 minutes on each side. While you have a second, get that mise en place all ready to go. For example, uh, wipe yr hands and unscrew your sauce lid and make sure the cheese is already grated and all that.
5. Stretch the dough and lay it across the grates. Grill about 2 minutes on the first side, until it's bubbly.
6. Flip and assemble! Go go quick! Sauce, cheese, eggplant, cook until the crust looks golden brown and awesome. Carefully remove from the grill, pat yourself on the back for making such a festive weeknight dinner, rejoice: it's summer!