I remember the first time I had burrata. I was in a pizzeria on Roman Road in East London and the waiter asked if I would like the cheese on my margherita. I don’t need to defend my choice of margherita pizza, everyone loves the so-called “boring” pizza even if they don’t admit it, and anyway, there is beauty in simplicity. I was with an Italian friend of mine, and her face lit up under the dim lighting at the prospect of burrata and yet I didn’t even know what it was.
“It’s like a creamy, softer version of mozzarella,” she said. “Get it!”
When my pizza came out, a smooth ball of white burrata in the sat in the centre of the molten mozzerella and glistening tomato. It seemed no different to mozzarella at first, but when I cut into it, it broke apart and the inside oozed out. I could almost spread it like butter over the pizza.
It was exactly like a creamy, softer version of mozzarella, but more than that it packed a stronger flavour. It was luxurious. Somehow the decadent relative to its more well known cousin. As if Italy hadn’t given enough wonderful food to the world!
Typical of the Puglia region of Italy – think the heel of the boot – burrata is made in much the same way as mozzarella, except it is filled with stracciatella and cream, a rich little parcel of cheesy goodness.
It was wonderful on pizza, but burrata is at its best as the centrepiece of a dish. And so we asked Paul Ainsworth, Richard Corrigan and Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones for their best burrata recipes to share with you to try at home.
Burrata and salami Milano bruschetta
By: Paul Ainsworth, owner of Paul Ainsworth at No6, Caffè Rojano and The Mariners Pub
1 ball of burrata
1 slice sough dough bread
1 sprig thyme, leaves picked
1 clove garlic
2 sprigs basil
4 slices salami Milano
1 lemon for zesting
Sea salt and pepper
50ml extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1. First split the burrata into two halves and lightly drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper and lightly grate the zest of half the lemon and leave this to the side.
2. Drizzle olive oil over the bread on both sides and season both sides with sea salt. Add to a hot char grill pan to colour both sides then add to a oven set at 180C for 2 minutes to finish the toast.
3. Remove the toast from the oven, and lightly rub both sides with garlic and place the picked thyme all over. Cut the slice in half and place on your plate.
4. Place half the burrata onto each slice and then top with the salami and finish the dish with a sprig of basil and a good drizzle of olive oil.
Burrata with caramelised red onions, sumac and dill
By: Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones, culinary duo at Wild by Tart in Belgravia
Makes: 2 servings
1 red onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp pickle juice (I used shallot)
1 tbsp lime juice (½ lime)
2 tsp sumac
Salt and pepper
2 burrata (1 per serving)
1 tsp urfa biber
Salt and pepper
1. Heat oven to 200C.
2. Cut onion into 2cm wedges, spread on a baking tray and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, salt, sugar, thyme and olive oil – place in the oven for 20 minutes, until the edges are starting to char and the onion is soft and caramelised.
3. Mix together the molasses, pickle juice, lime, sumac and salt and pepper and pour over the warm onions.
4. To serve spoon half the mixture over your plate, place the burrata on top and tear slightly. Drizzle with olive oil, season, sprinkle with urfa biber and scatter over with salt.
Salt-baked beetroot, burrata, blood orange and hazelnut
By: Richard Corrigan, owner of Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill, Corrigan’s Mayfair and Daffodil Mulligan
4 medium beetroot (different varieties are ideal), washed and leaves reserved
5 blood (or normal) oranges, 3 peeled and pith removed, the other 2 juiced
4 small burrata (1 per person)
A handful of leaves, such as rocket or radicchio, mixed with the beetroot leaves
A few very thin slices of bread (slightly stale sourdough works well)
Good-quality olive oil
A handful of hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
30ml sherry vinegar
Rock salt and black pepper
For the salt-crust dough:
150g fine salt
500g plain flour
2 large egg whites
A few sprigs of chopped thyme
1. First, make the salt crust dough. Blitz the salt, flour, egg whites and chopped thyme in a food processor with 200ml of water.
2. Tip onto a clean surface and knead until the mixture forms a smooth dough, roll into a ball and wrap in clingfilm. Chill for an hour.
3. Heat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3.
4. Split the salt crust into four. Using a rolling pin, roll out until roughly the thickness of a pound coin.
5. Place one beetroot in the middle of each rolled out dough. Then fold the dough around the beetroot by drawing up the sides and pinching together at the top, ensuring they are well-sealed.
6. Now place the wrapped beetroots on an oven tray, lined with baking paper.
7. Bake for 2½ hours, then remove and leave in the crust to cool.
8. For the croutons, turn the oven up to 180C/gas mark 6. Brush the bread slices with olive oil, space out on a flat oven tray, and bake for 5 mins until lightly brown. Leave them to cool and crisp up.
9. Cut the 3 peeled blood oranges into thin slices crossways.
10. To prepare the cooked beetroot, discard the salt crust, peel away the skins and cut into wedges.
11. To make the dressing, squeeze the remaining two blood oranges. Whisk together the juice, 100ml olive oil and the sherry vinegar. Season with salt to taste.
12. Now pour the dressing over the beetroot wedges and leave to marinade.
13. To serve, halve the burrata to expose the creamy centre. Dress the burrata with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
14. Place the blood orange slices and marinated beetroot wedges around a plate then top with the burrata and salad leaves. Spoon over some of the beetroot marinade to dress the salad.
15. Scatter with the chopped hazelnuts and a few crouton shards. Add a final drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of crushed sea salt.
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