“We see the beauty within and cannot say no” ~ Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Burrata cheese has a beautiful essence about it. It is a fresh Italian cheese made from water buffalo and/or cows milk mozzarella and has a center filled with a rich and silky cream. It is also my latest culinary obsession. It’s common knowledge among my family and friends that I love cheese, all types of cheese but Burrata has a metamorphic quality that I find very provocative. I cannot say no.
The transformative possibilities of a ball of Burrata cheese and a loaf of crusty bread cannot be underestimated. Topping choices are endless. I strive to stock our refrigerator/pantry with ingredients that have a decent amount of shelf life, making these items solid options for a quick appetizer or meal. Here’s what you would likely find in my kitchen on any given day: Bread, mixed (pitted) olives, peppers, sausages/cured meats, a variety of pestos/jams and fresh herbs. All of which have high potential for speedy and beautiful bites.
An impromptu gathering of friends and a troop of hungry college boys visiting over the recent holiday weekend turned out to be the best crews for my latest appetizer testing sessions. Nobody in either group could recall encountering the delicacy of Burrata cheese before, this made them the quintessential audience.
There really is no recipe necessary for these appetizers. Grill a sliced or halved loaf of baguette or a sturdy artisan bread that has been brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Slather with the Burrata cheese and top with your choice of ingredients. The grilled baguette shown below has Burrrata, cooked spicy Italian sausage, peppadew peppers and basil. After the bread was grilled, I spread the Burrata on generously and topped it with the additional ingredients. I placed it under the broiler for a brief time to warm everything. You could do this on the grill as well. Make sure to set it over indirect heat so the bread does not burn.
The Feature photo at the top of the page consists of sliced and grilled baguette, Burrata cheese, sliced sun dried tomatoes soaked in garlic oil (purchased from the olive bar at Lunds and Byerlys in Chanhassen), a dollop of prepared pesto and a chiffonade of fresh basil from my garden. Make as much or as little as you need. This was inspired by the Burrata plate at Red Rabbit in Minneapolis. There are many times when John and I are seeking a nice glass of wine and a quick nosh, so a small amount is all we need. For the times when our nest is not so empty, I go with one or two whole loaves of bread and enough ingredients to top accordingly.
You may be curious as to why I haven’t given step by step recipe instructions/amounts. There is definitely a time and place for specific ingredients/amounts/directions. This isn’t one of those times. I get really excited about the prospect of seeing an engaging dish come to fruition from the most basic beginnings. The point of this article is to inspire you to think outside of the recipe box, to use what you like and what you have on hand.
I used BelGioiso Burrata chesse for the above dishes. Burrata is becoming more widely available so check with your local grocer if you are not sure whether they carry it. I have purchased it at both Lunds and Byerlys & Kowalski’s Markets in the Twin Cities.