#2 in the series of fusing Italian food with non-Western cuisine.
I’ve been meaning to do a veggie pizza for a while and this idea has held me in a chokehold for the past few months. Initially, this was going to be an iteration of the Ultimate Skillet Margarita Pizza I posted 6 years ago, which still reigns supreme in my books. Baking pizza in a skillet oven yields the crispest, crunchiest pizza crust, but when you’re working with pizza toppings that have a high water content i.e. vegetables, you end up with a crisp bottom and soggy top. I couldn’t make the deep-dish cast iron style work with this pizza, so I moved on to the more traditional style.
Successive attempts bore fruit to the same sad soggy slices. Success finally came down to 2 factors: changing how I layered the ingredients and rolling the pizza out much thicker. When layering a pizza, the toppings with the highest water content should be placed on top where they’ll have the most exposure to heat. This meant finishing with the eggplant as all the water is squeezed out from the water in prepping the greens, and saving the kimchi hot honey for after the pizza is baked. If there’s one item you shouldn’t skip in this recipe: it’s the kimchi hot honey. Equal parts kimchi brine and honey, sweet and spicy, THIS is the dressing that makes the dish. Expect to see more recipes featuring this in future!
Other pizza recipes on Life Is Oh So Dandy:
Eggplant Bulgogi Pizza with Hot Honey Kimchi
For the eggplant bulgogi:
- 250g eggplant, thinly sliced
- ½ large pear, grated
- 3 cloves garlic, grated
- 3 tbsp ginger, grated
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp Gochujang
For the spinach salad:
- 100g baby spinach
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp chilli oil (optional)
For the pizza:
- 1 fresh pizza dough
- ¼ cup crushed Marzano tomatoes or pizza sauce
- 250g fresh mozzarella
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup kimchi brine (liquid in your jar of kimchi)
- Start by throwing all the eggplant bulgogi ingredients together in a Ziploc bag. Toss to ensure the eggplant is coated in the marinade. Let sit 30 minutes. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in large, shallow saucepan on medium-high heat. Fry the eggplant mixture until dark on all sides, 7-10 minutes. Set aside.
- Blanch the spinach by pouring boiling water over the spinach then quickly draining 30 seconds later. Let the spinach cool before squeezing out any excess water from the greens with your hands. Mix in the garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce and chilli oil if using. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 225C/450F and leave the pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven to heat up in the oven. Assemble the pizza! Roll out the pizza dough on parchment paper or aluminium foil to a ¾ inch/2cm thickness. Spread the crushed tomatoes or pizza sauce over the dough, leaving a ¾ inch/2cm thick border. Tear the mozzarella into pieces and layer over the sauce. Next layer the spinach salad and finally the eggplant. Bake until the crush is a golden brown, 20 – 25 minutes, watching carefully. Shake together the honey and kimchi in a glass jar and drizzle roughly 3 tbsp over the top of the pizza. Serve hot and drizzle any additional kimchi hot honey over the top. Enjoy!