Monday, September 27, 2010

Burrata - my latest obsession

Last year we went to Madera at the Rosewood hotel in Menlo Park for dinner with two friends. When dessert came around, I ordered a cheese plate of sorts featuring a cheese I had never heard of called Burrata.  In that moment - a love affair began.  It was served with fresh figs and prosciutto on a plate.  That's it.  So simple.  We searched high and low for the cheese, eventually finding it in a plastic container at Whole Foods.

Then, last week as part of a conference - we were served a fresh tomato salad with burrata cheese and a fresh fennel seed wafer/cracker thing (topped with oil and vinegar). Since I was trying to be polite, I didn't take a picture - but it was so good I wanted to about recreate it.  Walking back to Whole Foods this weekend - I found a different brand this time that appears to be more authentic given it's packaging (according to wikipedia, see below).

Burrata cheese - little top knot and all

From Wikipedia:
Burrata starts out much like mozzarella and many other cheeses, with rennet used to curdle the warm milk. But then, unlike other cheeses, fresh mozzarella curds are plunged into hot whey or lightly salted water, kneaded and pulled to develop the familiar stretchy strings (pasta filata), then shaped in whatever form is desired.

When making Burrata, the still-hot cheese is formed into a pouch, which is then filled with scraps of leftover mozzarella and topped off with fresh cream (panna) before closing. The finished Burrata is traditionally wrapped in the leaves of asphodel, tied to form a little brioche-like topknot, and moistened with a little whey. The asphodel leaves should still be green when the cheese is served, to indicate the cheese’s freshness. More recently the cheese is often sold in a plastic bag or container

So what did I do with it?  I sliced it open and ate it with fresh cut tomatoes AND fresh cut figs - sprinkled with dried basil and black salt.  The quality of the produce in California is pretty incredible!  Who could have dreamed of something so simple and delicious.  I would have loved to eat it with fennel seed crackers - but instead ate it with Stacy's pita chips (another favorite that is always in the cabinet).  I ate it too fast to remember I had intended to eat it with oil and vinegar on top!  There's always next time!
tis the season!

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