Sounds complicated, no? It really isn’t. This is the quickest most delicious dish you will make, and like all good things in food, it’s all down to the sourcing.
Burrata is a magical cheese from Puglia in Italy. It consists of an outer mozzarella coat filled with mozzarella bits and fresh cream. Shaped still warm, it is tied at the top, traditionally wrapped in leaves as an indicator of whether the cheese was good to eat. If the leaves were brown, it was off. Today it is more common to wrap it in plastic.
I still remember my surprise and delight the first time I cut into burrata and watched the cream sigh out. It is utterly decadent. It is also available truffled, which takes it to another level.
Burrata must be fresh. I sourced this one from a new deli in London – Melograno Deli – and, disclosure, it is owned by my friend and fellow blogger Dino. Dino has an incredible knowledge of food and a finely tuned palate, so I was very excited to hear it was opening.
I trekked over yesterday and was delighted with what I saw. I bought a lot to take home too so anticipate some fine cooking adventures. My favourite Pastificio dei Campi pasta is stocked there, SAP n’duja in the jar (remember my n’duja pig?), wonderful carefully selected charcuterie (easily some of, if not the best I have had in London), Square Mile Coffee, terrific parmesan and other cheeses, retaurant quality food to take home (from one of Dinos favourites – I can’t recall the name), Italian craft beers, a broad wine selection for all price ranges and much more. It’s a deli paradise.
But the burrata, what did I do with it? What exactly is in it? Well, another one of my favourite things is Isle of Wight Oak Smoked Tomatoes. I am going to the Isle of Wight tomorrow and it got me thinking about them and it and I fancied a pre Isle of Wight, Isle of Wight supper, if you know what I mean.
I get tomatoes from the Isle of Wight farm most weeks at the market, they are full flavoured and the antithesis of those awful Dutch waterbombs. The oak smoked are a whole other level, an intense tomato explosion. I came across them a few years ago and thought – TOMATO BACON! – there is that same umami whack and intensity with a sweet rich tomato base, I always have some in my fridge and was grateful when I spotted them lurking at the back to put with my burrata.
I decided that I would do a twist on a traditional caprese with the tomatoes inside in the burrata, just tucked in gently, paddling in the cream. I also made a quick basil oil to dress it with.
It was so quick, and really delicious. I think a dream starter to share for friends or an indulgent lunch for one.
Notes on the recipe: it is best to make the basil oil in advance but if you haven’t done this, just stir the basil into the oil and serve. It won’t be as full flavoured but will still be good. If you are making it, make more and keep it in your fridge for a week or so.
If you can’t get the tomatoes, subtitute with good sun dried, oven dried or semi dried tomatoes.
Recipe: Burrata with Oak Smoked Tomatoes & Basil Oil
1 x burrata (freshness is absolutely key)
Approx 12 oak smoked tomato halves
100ml extra virgin olive oil
handful of basil, shredded
Make the basil oil by adding the shredded basil to the oil. Allow to infuse overnight in the fridge if possible.
Gently unwrap the burrata and cut the top off – this is a chefs treat in my house and I devour it there and then.
Gently tease open the top and place the tomatoes inside, taking care not to squeeze the cream out.
Drizzle with basil oil, season and you’re ready to serve.
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