Moussaka Pita Pizzas & Crispy Cayenne Eggplant Oven Fries

iPhone 128

It was one of “those nights”. You know – when supper has to be quick for whatever scheduled reason? I was going to order a pizza, but realized I had a small package of ground beef in the fridge that needed to be used right away. What to make?

Moussaka is a Greek layered eggplant and potato dish that has a thick, spiced meat sauce in the middle and is topped with bechamel and cheese. That spiced meat sauce in the middle is where I got inspired.

This recipe was created completely on the fly and, although, this method doesn’t always work out (there have been some disasters where I should have just ordered the pizza), this one’s a keeper. There are endless possibilities, too. This was a quick version, but imagine topping the meat sauce with a bit of bechamel before the cheese and then laying on some freshly grilled strips of eggplant. Or even adding some eggplant and potato directly to the meat sauce? This makes me want to make a different version every night this week!

On the night I came up with this recipe I just served it without anything else since I was in a rush. After making it again this week, I decided to try making some crispy cayenne eggplant oven fries to serve on the side. They are a bit time consuming because you have to soak the eggplant a bit first, but if you have the time they are worth it!

Moussaka Pita Pizzas 

  • 6 Greek pitas
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups tomato passata (I use my Mom’s passata which is a bit watery compared to the store bought. If you use the store bought passata or even canned crushed tomatoes, use 1/2 cup of water and 1 1/2 cups of tomatoes instead)
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 3/4 cup shredded or crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

In a large skillet, break up and brown the ground beef with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper; drain.

Add the garlic to the beef and cook for a minute or so. Add the white wine and cook another minute or 2.

Stir in the tomato passata, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, sugar and another sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil, lower heat to medium and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is thick (like taco meat).

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and place 3 Greek pitas on each sheet. Top the pitas evenly with the finished sauce and then top each pita with 2 Tbsp. of the feta cheese.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Before serving, top each pita with some of the chopped fresh parsley. Serves 3-6.

Crispy Cayenne Eggplant Oven Fries

  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • a good sized pinch of cayenne pepper (add more if you like)
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten

Measure salt into a large bowl  and add 1 cup warm water to dissolve it. Add 6 cups of cold water and stir. Set aside.

Trim eggplant, and cut it into thin sticks (about 1/4 inch thick) and cut each stick in half, so they aren’t so long.

Add the eggplant sticks to the prepared salt water. They will float, so use a plate on top to help hold them under water. Let them soak for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a freezer bag combine breadcrumbs, a bit of salt & pepper, and the cayenne. Add the vegetable oil to the bag, seal the bag and shake it around to coat the breadcrumbs with the oil. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Drain and thoroughly dry the eggplant sticks with paper towel.

In a large bowl, combine the beaten egg and the dry eggplant strips. Toss to coat all the sticks with egg. Lift the sticks out of the bowl and shake off any excess egg and place in the freezer bag with the breadcrumbs. Shake until the eggplant sticks look nicely coated.

Dump the coated sticks onto your prepared baking sheet and spread them out in a single layer.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning once, until browned and crispy. Serves 3-6.

iPhone 105

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *