1 medium eggplant (sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs (beaten)
2 tablespoon whole milk
11/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 cups olive oil
QUICK TOMATO SAUCE
1 can whole, peeled tomatoes (28 ounces)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 bunch fresh basil
2 teaspoons red chili flakes
1 pound store-bought pizza dough (rolled out to fit in 10-inch cast iron)
1/2 cup pecorino (grated)
1 pound fresh mozzarella (thinly sliced)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
For the Eggplant: prepare a baking sheet with a layer of paper towels, lay the eggplant slices onto the paper towels. Sprinkle with salt on both sides. Let the eggplant sit for 30 minutes (this will draw out liquid and bitter flavor). Rinse the eggplant to remove the excess salt. Using a kitchen towel, dry the eggplant thoroughly.
Into three baking dishes, add flour in the first, eggs and milk in the second and panko in the third. Season each with salt and pepper.
Dip each eggplant slice into the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip into the egg mixture, then dip into the panko breadcrumbs. Make sure to coat both sides of the eggplant. Place the eggplant onto a baking rack in a single layer.
Into a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil to a height of 1/2-inch. Add eggplant slices in a single layer and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
For the Tomato Sauce: into the carafe of a blender, add the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, fresh basil, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and puree until smooth.
To Assemble: preheat oven to 450ºF. Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet into the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the skillet.
Place the dough inside the pan. Make sure to take care while stretching pizza into the pan. Spoon a layer of tomato sauce onto the dough leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Place 6 slices of eggplant on top of the sauce. Sprinkle 1/4 cup pecorino romano. Place 6 slices of fresh mozzarella on top of the eggplant. Repeat the process, finishing with the tomato sauce. Place in oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown and the crust is cooked through. Remove to a cutting board, let rest for 5-10 minutes, slice and serve.