18 May 2011

Burrata...



Creamy delicious cheesy goodness. I first had burrata a number of years ago at an Italian restaurant in Chicago (whose name escapes me at the moment). It wasn't a fancy large "name" restaurant, just a small place with less than two dozen tables and a bar. There wasn't really a good description on the menu, but I am pretty adventurous when it comes to cheeses, so of course I chose to order it. And I am so glad I did. I fell in love with this cheese. The next day I took Tori there for lunch and we both ordered it. We went back for it a third time before we left town. The cheese was that good!

Burrata is a fresh cheese that should be eaten right away. Maximum shelf life is only about two weeks from when it is made and many times it is eaten immediately after it is put together. Burrata originated in the Puglia/Apulia area of Italy around 1920. The outer skin is a very thin layer of mozzarella which is filled with strands of mozzarella and cream - very delicate. Originally the balls of cheese were wrapped with asfodelo leaves (look similar to leek leaves), but now most are wrapped in paper facsimiles and plastic bags.

When we were in Italy I was lucky enough to eat burrata a number of times, but I haven't had any in almost three years. None of our local markets import it that I have been able to find, though it does tend to be available in gourmet cheese shops and is often made in-house in some restaurants. Abbey and Tori also love burrata, so I was thinking we might need to try to find some. Looking online I found a family dairy in California that makes nothing but burrata. Need I say more?????

It arrived yesterday. Abbey took home one so that she and Donnie could share. And actually Tori wound up eating theirs with them. Tonight the Guy and I had burrata for our dinner. To go with it, some nice Italian bread that I grilled briefly, and some prosciutto di Parma, olives, with a little salad of heirloom tomatoes, basil and olive oil on the side. A nice bottle of pinot grigio and we were set.

Is this cooking? Well, maybe not. But it was getting dinner together in a very easy manner! And a delicious one, to boot. Burrata is normally served at room temperature so that the cream is not solidified.

So I got out the things I thought I would need to make a nice dinner:


Started by getting the ciabatta slices ready to grill:


Love the grill marks! The bread is just the right crispiness with just enough char:


OK. I couldn't help it. I had to julienne the basil on my Romeo and Julienne cutting board (some things are just too cute):

Well, more like a chiffonade, but for the sake of the story, we will call in julienne.

Slices of prosciutto di Parma:


When I took the green paper leaves off the burrata it was wrapped in plastic:


Out of the bag and on the cutting board:


Cut in half:

The centre creaminess is calling to me!

Individual plated burrata topped with freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of my favourite olive oil on a sapphire Fiesta plate:


And here's our dinner, including all of the above ingredients with some kalamata olives and a salted heirloom tomato salad with basil (from my kitchen container garden) drizzled with olive oil:


It was so good and I wish I could have had you all over for dinner. If you get the opportunity to try this cheese, don't turn it down! It is summer on a plate with the cheese, fresh heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil.


Burrata Dinner
Ciabatta loaf
good fruity olive oil
heirloom tomatoes
fresh basil
kosher salt
kalamata olives
thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma

Slice the ciabatta and drizzle with olive oil. Grill on each side.

Cut tomatoes up in wedges if they are small. You may want to cut the wedges in half crosswise if the tomatoes are larger. Sprinkle with kosher salt and the basil. Drizzle with olive oil and toss gently to coat.

Cut the burrata in wedges and place on individual plates. Let everyone choose their own accompaniments. Or not. Many people eat the burrata plain.


The table was simple. It's our circa 1946 green ice Formica table that the Guy's parents bought when they were first married, sapphire post-86 Fiesta, winter frost white Corelle serving dishes that I got back in 1978 when I moved into my first apartment, napkin rings I've had forever, Cityscape flatware by Oneida, and napkins from Pier One. Food from iGourmet, Fresh Market, Sciabaca's and my garden. Pinot Grigio from California - Frances Ford Coppola, IIRC.

I'm linking this to Michael Lee's Foodie Friday @ Designs By Gollum, Friday's Favourites by Sandi & Bill @ Whistlestop Cafe Cooking, and Kim's Saturday Swap over at Quit Eating Out.

Almost like being back in Italy. Thanks so much for stopping by today!

namasté,
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11 comments:

Cathie said...

Just beautiful - I have never had this cheese. ... La proxima volta in Italia.....

Annie @ From the Bookshelf said...

SO JEALOUS!! We had almost this same meal for our lunch one day while we were in Rome. We were trying to figure out how to bring burrata home, but it's too delicate for that kind of trip!

Linda said...

Looks wonderful Becky...we are lucky to be able to buy it here in quite a few places near me...but it has to be eaten right away. It never tastes exactly as wonderful as in Italy though.
I am glad you so enjoyed your meal.It sounds like it was very special.

Mari @ Once Upon a Plate said...

My kind of meal Becky ~ and beautifully presented, too! Very nice. :)

Becky said...

Annie, I had it in Rome, too. For some reason that I have yet to ascertain, customs wouldn't let me bring in fresh cheese, even if it were sealed. I considered placing it next to my heart, but my spouse was most opposed. ROFL.

Linda, I am glad you are able to buy it locally. There is not a large Italian population here, so we do not get many of the more esoteric Italian cheeses and other ingredients.

Thanks Mari. I was trying to pick out what colour plates would show off the whole meal to its best and sapphire was just the right choice.

helenko said...

Next time you have some extra...invite ME over! Congrats on the 5 years of blogging (me too back in January); I'm putting my comment here so I won't be in the running for the gorgeous cutting board -it's too nice for Chez Oney plus I'm tryna downsize and get rid of things. Much love to you and I'll harrass you again soon.

Kate said...

I have never heard of Burrata, I will look for it. This is a perfect light meal for warm weather!

Diedra said...

Sounds delicioso!

Jenny said...

Although I've never heard of it, I will definitely be watching for it now. It looks delicious...an oh so creamy and dreamy.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I am just now home from Italy and I have the time to see everyone's Friday's Favorites.
I can't believe of all things you posted Burrata! You will understand when I said I ate it almost every day. Fresh from the Mercato Centrale in Florence with shaved truffels or with tomatoes or with olive oil that is so rich and peppery.
Absolutely a friday's favorite :-{)

Becky said...

Helen, next time I get some I will give you a call.

Kate, Diedra and Jenny, do try it if you get the opportunity.

Sandi, I am not at all surprised to hear that you ate this on an almost daily basis. I would do the same in Florence. And I do like the idea of trying it with truffles.