Caramelized Onion, Eggplant, Olive, and Kale Calzones

For many of you out there, the thought of turning on the oven makes you almost swoon. In fact, some of you are already swooning because of the heat. If this is you, bookmark this recipe and come back to it this fall when the eggplants are beginning to shrivel on the plant but are still quite good and when the kale is a little wilty but still edible.

Or better yet, defy the heat and make this tonight: but put it inside a Campfire Foil Pack and toss this on the grill (or even better yet, a campfire).

However, in the Bay Area, we are getting the August fog, that wall of cool, wet weather that makes me almost shiver, not from the cold, but in delight. In fact, tonight as we were driving (to Target for cat litter and Kleenex if you must know the boring details of my daily life), the wall of fog was firmly planted just on the edge of the Bay at the Oakland border.

It will creep in, not on little cat's feet as Carl Sandburg suggested, but in puffs and blooms as we get deeper into the night. But it will indeed sit on its haunches, looking over the city and the Bay and keeping its comforting quiet.Oh, I love August in the Bay Area.

(Let's face it--I dislike September, however, with its hot, dry days and the refusal to bring me a proper autumn). I have digressed, have I not? Let's return.

Turn on your oven. Fire up the grill. Construct your campfire.

And then make a simple calzone. I used Sarah Britton's My New Roots as inspiration. However, I will admit it--I changed so much in the recipe it hardly resembles hers. I am not sure I should even mention it in the same breath. But, I encourage you to do the same here: use this post as shabby inspiration and make this satisfying pocket of pizza your very own.

Britton's calzone is much, much healthier than mine. (And maybe you would like to make hers:  I cannot find a link to the original recipe. If you do, let me know.)

Yes, Britton makes her dough from a spelt flour. I bought mine at Market Hall. Because I am lazy that way. And theirs is good. Don't judge.

I added eggplants and tomato sauce (because I had them, and I also like a tomato sauce in my calzone to keep it from drying out).

I may have also piled on the herbs.

I may have added more cheese than she suggested. This is definitely true.

I am going to digress again for a moment, but stay with me. I promise I will land this plane:

As many of you know, without guidance my smoothies all taste the same because I use them to clean out my veggie crisper in the fridge. I think one can take this same philosophical stance on calzones. If it's in your fridge, throw it in. There is no shame here.

Only a very tasty, relatively easy (especially if you buy that pizza dough!), and crowd-pleasing dinner. No matter the time of year or the temperature outside.

Caramelized Onion, Eggplant, Olive, and Kale Calzones

Inspired by and heavily changed from Sarah Britton's My New Roots

4 Servings

4 medium onions
A few pats of butter, ghee, or coconut oil
salt and pepper
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 medium eggplant
1 small bunch (1/4 pound) kale
1 pint (16 ounces) cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1 cup tomato sauce, plus more for dipping
flour (for the cutting board)
pizza dough (seriously, store bought is fine)
6 ounces feta, crumbled
Handful of fresh oregano leaves (or other herbs or a mixture)
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil


1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and preheat a baking sheet pan or a pizza stone.

2. Slice the onions into thin rounds. Heat the butter, ghee, or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and a few pinches of salt and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, and when the pan becomes a bit dry, add the balsamic vinegar. Cook until the onions are golden and caramelized, 20-25 minutes, or so.

3. While the onions are cooking, cut the eggplant into a 1/2-inch dice, leaving the skin on. Sprinkle with salt. Heat another pat of butter, ghee, or coconut oil in a different pan from the onions, and sautee the eggplant becomes soft, about 10 minutes. Resist the urge to add more fat. 

4. While the eggplant is cooking, remove any tough stems from the kale and slice the leaves into ribbons. Since the tomatoes into quarters. 

5. When the eggplant is soft, add the kale and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3-5 minutes, or until the greens have wilted. Transfer to a large bowl. 

6. When the onions are golden, add them to the eggplant and kale mixture. Pit and roughly chop the olives, and add them to the bowl. Stir in 1 cup of tomato sauce; season with salt and pepper to taste. 

7. Divide the dough into 2 chunks. Sprinkle a big pinch of flour onto a clean, dry workspace. Roll each portion of the dough out into a 8-10-inch round. Divide the eggplant and kale filling between onto each rolled-out dough round (putting the filling on one half of the round). Sprinkle with the feta, oregano leaves, and black pepper. Fold the other half of the dough over and pinch the edges together (with your fingers or the edge of a fork), ensuring that the dough is sealed.

8. Carefully slide the calzones onto the preheated baking sheet or the pizza stone. Bake the calzones for 14-18 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and let stand for 2 minutes, and then drizzle with olive oil. Cut the calzones in half, and serve each half with additional tomato sauce on the side.


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