Origins Farm is at it again — growing different. Do you know what they had a the farmers market last week and will have again this week in limited supply? Artichokes, grown in Hanover County. Artichokes in Virginia? Well, that is what they are about and we love them for it. You can bet we'll be picking a few of our own up this Saturday morning.
Before the artichokes came to market we picked up a healthy bunch of gorgeous striped Roma tomatoes and eggplants to create these smoky prosciutto pizzas we're sharing the recipe for today!
These flavorful bites of summer make for a great starter or side with dinner — heck, we've been snacking on them throughout the day whenever the mood strikes! Fresh, simple ingredients are what make the dish, we're even going to show you how to make a simple tomato sauce from scratch. After you make and taste it once, you'll think twice before picking up the jarred version moving forward!
Sauce Ingredients (makes 2 1/2 cups):
- 2 1/2 lbs Tomatoes (we used striped Roma tomatoes from Origins Farm)
- Fresh sprigs of thyme, small handful
- 3 T Olive oil
- 2-3 Garlic cloves, diced
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Red crushed pepper to taste
- 3 T grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 Small to medium eggplants (Origins Farm)
- 1 Ball fresh mozzarella
- 6 slices prosciutto, halved
- 1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Fresh basil leaves, small handful
Quarter tomatoes and place evenly across a sheet pan:
Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and fresh sprigs of thyme:
Roast tomatoes in over at 375 degrees for 1 hour, they will emerge like this, in all their glory:
Allow them to cool slightly then pulse gently in a food processor. At this point, you can flavor the sauce to your liking — I added some fresh parmesan, a little extra olive oil, and some crushed red pepper. This would be a perfect time to add black olives, basil, or anchovies and give another gentle pulse in the processor:
Pour sauce into saucepan and simmer to keep warm for use on the eggplants. Whala, you just created a quick easy homemade sauce made with a minimal amount of fresh ingredients!
For the Eggplants:
Wash your eggplants, slice lengthwise and layer in a dish or colander. Between each layer, sprinkle with salt and once complete allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Salting will dry the eggplant and bring the water out, so it's easier to work with:
At this point you can either smoke or grill the eggplant slices. It doesn't take a lot of smoke if you are using a smoker, so 30 minutes in the smoker or 10 minutes on the grill, flipping half way though will do the trick:
Arrange eggplant slices on baking sheet and get ready for the toppings!
Spread the homemade tomato sauce on each slice. You will have leftover tomato sauce, which is great to reserve and use in other dishes throughout the week.
Top sauce with grated parmesan, chunks of fresh mozzarella, and prosciutto:
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and prosciutto is crisp. Remove from oven and finish with fresh cracked pepper and fresh basil leaves.
They're fun to stack on a plate and serve with dinner as a starter, side or over pasta as the star of the main meal:
To make this dish vegetarian, you could swap in other ingredients like fresh tomatoes, olives, or grilled corn kernels. The basic concept remains the same, but you can swap in different ingredients and substitutions to suit your tastes. Pick up some eggplants from Origins Farm at the market this week to make a variation of your own.
Have you cooked with eggplants before or have a favorite way to prepare them? If you're in RVA, be sure to check out Origin's Farm at your local market and pick up a few for your next summer dinner.