Jewish Food

Not Your Bubbe’s Passover: Roasted Tomato and Fried Halloumi Matzah Pizza

A matzah pizza that renews your faith in Jewish holiday food. Read More

By / April 18, 2014

No. More. Matzah.

Right about now you’ve reached your limit.  The novelty has worn off.  The crunch doesn’t thrill like it did on that first seder night. Your tastebuds are dangerously close to slipping into a coma. And your TMJ is flaring up again, due in no small part to the matzah grinding motion your jaw is fixed on. Dayenu! No more matzah… But wait a minute, what’s this? A roasted tomato fried-cheese matzah pizza? Hmmm…

You know I wouldn’t waste your time, or insult your good taste, on a standard slap-on-some-canned-tomato-sauce-sprinkle-some-shredded-cheese kind of kiddie fare. No, this is a matzah pizza that you invite friends over for. A matzah pizza to uncork a good bottle of wine over. A matzah pizza with a zesty zetz of flavor. A matzah pizza that renews your faith in Jewish holiday food.

Instead of using one-note canned tomato sauce, in this recipe fresh plum tomatoes are sliced thick and doused with olive oil, chopped garlic, and an invigorating splash of balsamic or red wine vinegar. And then it’s roasted to a sweet-savory full-flavored juiciness and toothsome suppleness.

Halloumi is a white cheese that’s mild in flavor and firm in texture. One of its exemplary qualities is that it is available kosher-for-Passover, and the other is that you can grill or fry it without melting it into a puddle of goo. To add even more pizzalicious flavor, the halloumi cubes are dredged in garlic power and gently sautéed to a warm and tasty goldenness. A scattering of watercress, arugula, spinach, or basil adds extra color and a nice herbal undertone.

Sharp parmesan shavings, spicy dashes of red pepper flakes, a smattering of earthy oregano, a few strategically placed salty olives would all be tasty add-ons to this mouthwatering matzah pizza. A matzah pizza that makes the bread of our affliction into a platform for fun flavor, pleasing color, and a variety of textures.

Roasted Tomato and Fried Halloumi Matzah Pizza

Ingredients

4 pieces of matzah
1 tablespoon olive oil
A few handfuls of fresh spinach, arugula, watercress, or basil
Shaved parmesan cheese
Optional add ons: red pepper flakes, dried oregano, olives, capers

Oven Roasted Tomatoes:
10-12 plum tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons sugar (if using balsamic vinegar scale sugar back to 1 tsp.)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Fried Halloumi Cheese:
7 oz. halloumi, cut into ½ “ cubes (approximately 1 ½ cups)
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2-3 tablespoons safflower or grapeseed oil

Directions

Oven Roasted Tomatoes:

1. Place oven rack in top third of oven and Preheat to 450F.

2. Cut tomatoes across width-wise. Scoop out the core and seeds with a melon baller or a spoon. Then cut each half in half (width-wise again).

3. Place tomatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle evenly with olive oil, vinegar. Sprinkle with minced garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper. With a spatula give it a good stir.

4. Place in oven to roast for 30-35 mins. Remove 15 minutes into cook-time to stir tomatoes again. Once tomatoes are good ‘n roasted, remove from oven and allow to cool. Chop coarsely if you prefer a less chunky texture.

Fried Halloumi Cheese:

1. Dredge halloumi cheese cubes in garlic powder until completely coated.

2. Heat oil in frying pan until it shimmers. Place halloumi cubes in hot oil, making sure not to over-crowd the pan. Stir and saute until crispy golden brown. Drain cubes on paper towel.

To assemble Matzah Pizzas:

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Brush olive oil over each piece of matzah. Scatter roasted tomatoes evenly over matzah. Then intersperse matzah with fried cheese cubes. Place a layer of greens over the tomatoes and cheese. Sprinkle with shaved parmesan and your add-ons of choice. Drizzle each matzah pizza with some of the seasoned oil from the roasted tomatoes.

2. Place matzah pizzas on a baking sheet and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes or until parmesan is melted, greens are wilted, and the matzah itself is deep golden brown.

For year-round eating, the roasted tomatoes and fried cheese would be excellent tossed with pasta, in a Panini sandwich, or as flatbread pizza toppings. Heck! They’re delicious even on their own.