Saturday, June 28, 2014

Burrata: The It-Cheese of the Summer


I’m declaring burrata the It-Cheese of the Summer. It’s the Lupita Nyong'o of the food world: Fabulous, obsession-worthy, and suddenly everywhere.

The divine beauty that is Lupita Nyong'o.
First, what is it? Burrata tastes like the creamy, sexy love-child of ricotta and mozzarella. It’s a fresh Italian cheese with a thin, outer layer of mozzarella, and filled with a crazy-decadent mixture of rich and buttery-tasting cream and mozzarella.

I first tasted burrata last year while I was in Puglia, Italy, the birthplace of this gorgeous cheese. We ate burrata with breakfast, and I almost fainted with happiness when I first put it in my mouth. I ate it every day for a week, and then went home, heartbroken, thinking I’d never taste it again.

When I saw BelGioioso-brand burrata cheese in my neighborhood grocery store a few months ago, I did a double-take.

“Burrata, it’s you,” I thought to myself. “My long-lost love!”
Minutes later, this 4 oz. hunk of cheese was G-O-N-E.
I’ve only bought it a couple of times, because I can’t be trusted with it. Each time it’s been in the house, I’ve eaten all of it with a spoon…by myself… in a single sitting.

And now, burrata seems to have gone Hollywood. I’ve seen recipes calling for burrata cheese in a ton of magazines so far this summer: O, The Oprah Magazine; Every Day with Rachael Ray; Bon Apetit; and Redbook. And it’s not hard to see why. It’s fresh and creamy, and perfect for a summer night. It pairs equally well with honey as it does with bruschetta.

It’s perfectly acceptable to eat burrata all by itself with a little kosher salt, or spread across a hunk of crusty bread. But a nice way to serve it is atop a “salad pizza,” an idea that I adapted from Andy King, co-owner of the amazing A&J King Artisan Bakers in Salem, MA. He told me during an interview for Northshore Magazine that one of his favorite summertime suppers is a grilled flatbread topped with lettuce and a drizzle of vinaigrette.

Here’s how I interpreted his idea: I made pizza dough (store-bought is fine, too), spread it out on a baking sheet, and topped it with a mixture of:

  • About 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • A big handful of dried parsley
  • A minced garlic clove
  • Salt and pepper
I mean, this is good all by itself, but topping it with greens and burrata cheese makes it extra yummy.

First spread the olive oil mixture evenly across the dough, and top that with a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan. Then, bake the dough at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

It comes out not really like pizza, but more like a very thin cheesy-herb focaccia. Cut or tear it into big pieces, top with fresh lettuce and a simple vinaigrette of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and finally, add dollops burrata cheese across the top. Season with kosher or sea salt.

OMG. YUM.

2 comments:

  1. OK, I'm convinced.!! Gotta try it. But, who is in the picture??

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    Replies
    1. The lovely lady pictured is Lupita Nyong'o, the Oscar-winning It-Girl who I think of as the burrata of Hollywood. :-)

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