Thursday, April 02, 2009

Every Day Passover - Zucchini Crust Pizza

As part of Blog Appetit's on-going coverage of Passover,* here's an article first written for the Temple Beth Abraham Omer. I also hope to put together a round up of basic and Seder info as well as some gluten-free links (Let my people not eat wheat?). You might also enjoy this post for custard matzo brei (a sweet egg and matzo dish).

"What can I eat?”

That’s the little acknowledged but often heard “other” question at Passover, asked by all sons and daughters (and occasionally spouses).

It’s those regular meals and food needs I find so challenging at Passover. The Seders with their gourmet and/or traditional foods I can handle, everyone knows what to expect and no one grumbles about the lack of bread or related products. Everyone, uhm, seems to rise to the occasion.

It’s the everyday meals and snacks that can be so challenging, even in a household like mine with lots of fruits and vegetables on hand. I know there are plenty of kosher-for-Passover versions of everything from cereal to fruit snacks, but they are expensive, sometimes disappointing in taste and nutrition, and hard to find (especially after Passover starts – memo to grocery stores – Passover lasts eight days, stock for it, please) or require a special trip to Jewish-oriented markets.

That’s why certain recipes have become part of my Passover tradition. They are family friendly, lend themselves to leftovers with easy snacking potential and taste good, not just “well-this-is-okay at-Passover-but-I wouldn’t-eat-this-any-other-time-of- the-year” good.

This recipe is adapted from Molly Katzen’s Zucchini-Crusted Pizza in the 1992 revised version of Moosewood Cookbook published by Ten Speed Press.

Passover Zucchini-Matzo Meal Pizza
Serves 4 to 6

The matzo meal gives the crust a nice crunch, but does make for an untraditional pizza.
While they liked it, my sons didn’t think it should really be called a pizza, so change the name if your family has strict definitions of what is or isn’t a pizza. I didn’t fess up to the zucchini being part of the crust until the boys were well into their teens.

We like this crust topped with a little tomato sauce and shredded cheese. I’ve also topped it with sauce, garlic sautéed greens and cheese. It is versatile and can take to almost any topping; however, I’d recommend you use a light hand. This crust can get overwhelmed with too heavy or soggy a topping.

Oil and matzo cake meal for the pans
2 ¼ cups grated zucchini (tightly packed in measuring cup)
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup matzo meal
1 cup grated mild, white cheese (try half mozzarella and parmesan if available for Passover)
2 Tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley or basil
1 clove garlic, very finely minced, optional
2 Tablespoons oil, preferably olive oil if available for Passover

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease two 9-inch pie plates with the oil and dust lightly with matzo cake meal. (The thin, metal pans work best. Disposable foil pans should work, too.)

Put zucchini, eggs, matzo meal, cheese, fresh herbs, minced garlic (if using) and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large bowl. Mix well until combined.

Press mixture evenly into the prepared pie pans. Put in the oven. After about 20 minutes, brush the crusts with the remaining oil. Bake for another 15-20 minutes (for a total of 35 to 40) or until the crusts have turned a golden brown. Take them out of the oven.

Cool for 10 minutes and then slip a spatula beneath the crusts to loosen them from the pan to prevent breakage when serving, but keep the crusts in their pans. (Crusts can be made ahead to this point and kept well wrapped in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature before proceeding.)

Have toppings precooked or at room temperature as appropriate. Scatter pizza toppings (see note above) on the crusts and bake at 400 degrees until heated and cheese has melted.

* I don't know why but that phrase, "continuing coverage of Passover" just cracks me up. I wrote it to be a bit funny, but it made me envision this whole routine about a reporter trying to report on the plagues, trying to get a man on the street interview during the plague of darkness, getting embedded with the Hebrews for 40 years in the desert, etc. I know its not a funny topic, but somehow I could just envision this really funny routine. Well, funny to me anyway.

About the photo: From MorgueFile, a great free photo site. Photo by Rosevita.

1 comment:

FJKramer said...

A friend of mine tried this recipe with her two kids, here's her report:

Hi Faith,

I tried your Pesach zucchini pizza the other night, and..... we all loved it!! Definitely a keeper. Gregory wasn't even going to eat it when Sara blurted out the zucchini part, but when he tried it, he scarfed it and wanted it again.

Next time, though, I'll bake the crust a little longer to make it crisper. Or maybe bake at a higher temp.