Pasta alla Crudaiola with Heirloom Tomatoes and Burrata

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is the easiest recipe EVER!  The only cooking involved is boiling the pasta.  This is a delicious dish & can be made vegan by simply omitting the burrata – because it doesn’t really need it – but if you are a cheese lover – burrata is a creamy, decadent delight!  I used heirloom tomatoes (actually 2 heirloom & 1 regular) but any tomatoes will do.  Fresh & light & easy.  Yum!

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Pasta alla Crudaiola with Heirloom Tomatoes & Burrata

serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta (I used orrecchiette)

3 tomatoes – halved – at room temperature (never refrigerate tomatoes)

1-2 TBS olive oil

garlic to taste – minced (I used 2 cloves)

2 balls burrata (more or less – your call) – at room temperature

Basil – torn by hand (quantity – your call)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Halve the tomatoes & poke or squeeze the majority of the seeds out.  Dice the tomatoes.

Mince the garlic.  Put the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, some shredded basil & S&P in a bowl & let the flavors combine – at room temperature – for an hour.

Cook your pasta.  Drain & toss with the tomatoes.  Plate it & add the burrata.  Bust into the burrata & blend for a fresh & creamy sensation!  Garnish with extra basil & lots of freshly cracked pepper.

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Pasta with Pan-Seared Tomatoes, Spinach & Burrata

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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So – Jason Priestley has a book out now – a memoir.

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I make an appearance in it as we lived together for 5 years or so.  There is a picture of me in there in a bathing suit top & some Calvin Klein men’s boxer briefs.  I was not consulted on the photo choice.  🙂  But, I am referred to as “captivating” and I am given credit for turning him on to wine.  I haven’t read it myself.  Yet.  But I will.  You should, too.

In the meantime – I hope you read MY book!  Reviews are solid!  And it can be found in the very store in Pasadena where Jason will make an appearance this month (and I will make one in June) – at Vroman’s!  Here it is on the shelf there!  www.bathingbook.com

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This is another one of those pasta dishes that can come together in just the time it takes to boil the pasta.  The real key is the burrata.  See how creamy the inside of burrata is?  And that is room temperature – not warmed.  It is a crazy & decadent mozzarella heaven.   They have it at Costco & often have it in mainstream supermarkets – typically there with the other fresh mozzarella that is sold packed in water.

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I used the same leftover homemade spicy basil marinara that I used in yesterday’s Vegan Chicken Parmesan recipe.

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 I have several recipes for sauce on this blog – Spicy Basil MarinaraFive (5) Minute Arrabiata Sauce, or my basic Marinara Sauce.  You can make one of those in advance or make your own favorite recipe or just use a nice jarred sauce.  Rao’s arrabbiata sauce is costly but so genuinely awesome – I recommend it very highly.

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I used fettuccine but any pasta will do.

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HERE is an interesting piece on which things are most important to buy ORGANIC.Image

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You will notice spinach is on the list of things to be sure you buy organic.  So – I did.

Aside from the burrata – this is a very clean & healthy dish – as pastas go.  Not even any olive oil and the spinach is hardly cooked. And it is a bit of a show stopper – with that creamy burrata bleeding all down your plate so do not be afraid to serve this one to guests – if only for its wow factor & simplicity.

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Pasta with Pan-seared Tomatoes, Spinach & Burrata

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta

2-3 cups pasta sauce (to taste)

20 cherry or grape tomatoes – halved

4 cups organic FRESH spinach

2 balls burrata – ROOM TEMPERATURE

Cooking spray

Basil or parsley as garnish (optional)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta.  Heat the pasta sauce.

Meanwhile, spray a pan with cooking spray & put the tomatoes cut-side down in the pan on med-high heat – for about 2 minutes or until seared.  Stir the tomatoes for another 30 seconds or so & remove from heat.

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When the pasta is done, drain it & in the same pan you cooked the pasta in – toss the pasta with the fresh spinach & enough pasta sauce to suit your taste.

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Divide the pasta up over two plates, top with a little more sauce (if you like) and the burrata.  S&P and maybe some chopped basil or parsley & that is it!   Enjoy!

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Cauliflower & Southern Greens Pesto Pizza with Burrata

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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So – yeah!  THAT is happening!  In June!  In Pasadena!

And, yeah, I feel lame posting another pizza but that is exactly what I am going to do.

But first – look what showed up at my door today!

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I used to use this service & get weekly delivery of produce but I could never seem to get through it before it went bad – so I canceled the deliveries.  This box wasn’t meant for me.  It had a completely different address on it – wrong house number & the wrong street.  So – I called & told them & asked if they wanted to come get the box.  I was informed that, due to food safety laws, the vegetables could not now be delivered to the proper person.  So – I got to keep it!   Yay!  Maybe I will make something other than pizza, now.

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So – again – here is the pizza dough I use – and all I do is throw everything in my bread machine & let it run on the dough cycle.  SO EASY!  Then I let it sit & rise or a hour & either use it immediately – or use a bit & store the rest in plastic wrap in the fridge.

PIZZA DOUGH

MAKES FOUR 12-OZ. BALLS

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp. sugar (⅞ oz.)
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more (½ oz.)
½ tsp. active dry yeast
5½ cups flour
2 tbsp. kosher salt (¾ oz.)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Combine sugar, oil, yeast, and 2 cups cold water in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook; let sit until foamy, 8-10 minutes. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. With motor running, slowly add flour mixture; mix until a smooth dough forms, 8-10 minutes. Transfer dough to a greased baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature 1 hour.

2. Divide dough into 4 balls; transfer to a greased 9″ x 13″ dish; brush tops with oil. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 48 hours (or get impatient like me & use it immediately).

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Cauliflower & Southern Greens Pesto Pizza with Burrata

INGREDIENTS

Dough

Burrata or other mozzarella

1/2 head cauliflower – cut into tiny florets

Olive oil

1- 3 tsp crushed red pepper – depending on your tolerance for heat

6 cloves garlic – chopped

8 oz southern greens (I used a collard, turnip, mustard greens & spinach blend)

1/4 cup pecans

1/4 Parmesan

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 sun-dried tomatoes (optional)

1/4 cup fresh basil

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

Make the pesto by boiling water & blanching the chopped greens for about 3 minutes.  Drain & set aside.

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Toast the pecans in a dry pan for a few minutes or until they begin to toast a bit.  Be careful not to burn them.

In a food processor, blend the pecans & FOUR of the cloves of garlic & the sun-dried tomatoes.  Once they are chopped well, add the greens, Parmesan, apple cider vinegar, basil & a tsp of crushed red pepper (optional).  Pulse until well blended & then, while the machine is running, drizzle in about 4 TBS olive oil.  Taste & adjust S&P.  Set aside.

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In a saute pan with a lid, heat 2-3 TBS olive oil over medium heat.  Add your crushed red pepper (I used a lot) and the cauliflower florets.  Stir to combine & cook about 5 minutes.  Add 3 TBS water & raise the heat to high.  Cover the pan & steam the cauliflower for 3 minutes or until it is tender.  Lower the heat to medium again & add the remaining to cloves of garlic.  Stir for about a minute, adding olive oil if it needs it & add S&P & set aside.

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Now – simply assemble the pizza.  I love parchment paper but a greased pan is just as good.  Roll out the dough & put it on the cooking pan.  Pierce it all over with the tip of a knife or a fork.  This keeps the dough from bubbling up & displacing the toppings.

Smear some pesto on there, add some cauliflower & top with the cheese.  Cook that sucker up for about 10-15 minutes or until it looks ready to you.  Devour!

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Brussels Sprouts & Burrata Pizza with Pecorino & Dried Meyer Lemon Zest

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Hey – LOS ANGELES (and everyone else)!  You no longer need to look online only to buy my book!  You can buy my hilarious debut novel at three local LA bookstores now, too!  Book Soup in West Hollywood, Skylight in Hollywood & Vromans (signed ones there!) in Pasadena.  It is available in a few other regional stores or most online retailers.  Find out all the info HERE.

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vromans front vromans back

Moving on!

Mmmmm- pizza!  Infinitely customizable.  All you need is a great crust & some inspiration.  It is pretty hard to make a bad homemade pizza.  That said – this pizza is really special.  Soft, subtle flavors, creamy & crusty.  So delicious that I made it for dinner Saturday night & it was my one meal on Sunday.  Easter Sunday.  This yumminess.

Meyer lemon is not necessary.  Any lemon will do.  And if you cannot find or do not like burrata (use it if you possibly can) – use regular but FRESH mozzarella (the kind they sell in water) because the creaminess is one of the most delightful factors of this pizza.

I saw a pizza like this on the internet as I trolled for inspiration but none of the links would show me the recipe without my joining up to some recipe club – so I winged it.  It is so simple & so crazy good – try it at least once!

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Here is the pizza dough I use – and all I do is throw everything in my bread machine & let it run on the dough cycle.  SO EASY!  Then I let it sit & rise or a hour & either use it immediately – or use a bit & store the rest in plastic wrap in the fridge.

PIZZA DOUGH

MAKES FOUR 12-OZ. BALLS

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp. sugar (⅞ oz.)
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more (½ oz.)
½ tsp. active dry yeast
5½ cups flour
2 tbsp. kosher salt (¾ oz.)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Combine sugar, oil, yeast, and 2 cups cold water in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook; let sit until foamy, 8-10 minutes. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. With motor running, slowly add flour mixture; mix until a smooth dough forms, 8-10 minutes. Transfer dough to a greased baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature 1 hour.

2. Divide dough into 4 balls; transfer to a greased 9″ x 13″ dish; brush tops with oil. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 48 hours (or get impatient like me & use it immediately).

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Dried Meyer Lemon Zest

INGREDIENTS

Lemons

DIRECTIONS

Zest the lemon peel.  Bake at about 200 degrees for about an hour.  Do this while the dough rises.  It is ready when you can powder it between your fingers.  Do so – and set aside.

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Brussels Sprouts & Burrata Pizza with Pecorino & Dried Meyer Lemon Zest

INGREDIENTS

(quantity of each is your personal preference)

Pizza dough

Burrata (or fresh mozzarella)

Pecorino (or other hard & salty cheese like Parmesan) – grated

Brussels sprouts (6 or so large ones for one 12″ pizza)

Dried lemon zest (see recipe above)

Lemon juice

Olive oil

S&P

Crushed red pepper (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to a solid 450-500 degrees.

Make the dried lemon zest (recipe above)

Shred or chop the Brussels sprouts & toss with about 1 TBS olive oil, some lemon juice and S&P.

Line your pizza pan with parchment paper or treat it with cooking spray or some olive oil.

Roll the dough out & put it on the pan.  Pierce the dough all over with the tip of a knife so that it doesn’t bubble & puff in the oven.

Top with Brussels sprouts, Pecorino, burrata & dried lemon zest.

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Bake this sucker 10-15 minutes or until your crust is as you like it & the cheese is melted & just beginning to brown.  This is a pizza that I bet you will want to eat all by yourself so – go for it!  I sure did!  I added a lot of crushed red pepper, too.  You can squeeze more lemon juice on it or add more cheese!  Enjoy!

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Decadent Goat Cheese & Creamy Burrata Pizza with Arugula

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Sometimes I feel guilty when I post a string of similar recipes, like two or three pizzas or a bunch of cauliflower or rice dishes but, the fact is, I am posting my actual meals.  And, when I make pizza dough, I usually make enough for three or four pizzas.   Because I am not a professional blogger, in that, this blog doesn’t generate income, I am not in the position some bloggers are to make things specifically for the blog, whether they intend to eat it or not.  Furthermore though unrelated, all my photos are taken with my i-phone which has developed a penchant for powering off randomly.  Like – at 54% – it thinks it is out of juice & shuts down until I find a charger – at which point – it is instantly back at 54%.  It is infuriating!  Especially when I am trying to photograph a piping hot pizza so that I can eat it while it is still warm.

Anyway – I talk myself out of feeling lazy when I post these similar recipes by telling myself that my readers are likely to have the same leftover ingredients that I do and that they might actually appreciate a new idea about how to reinvent them.  That said, yesterday I found myself with fresh pizza dough, a few leftover caramelized onions, arugula & some leftover spicy red sauce.  From these humble ingredients was born my Decadent Goat Cheese & Creamy Burrata Pizza with Arugula!

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I never really think that pizza is a recipe, per se, in that the amount of toppings is a personal preference.  I do not typically go for a lot of cheese but I was really in the mod for gooey goat cheese & I had the burrata – so – I went for it & I am happy I did.  If you do not have burrata – just use any fresh mozzarella and put it on the pizza with the goat cheese rather than closer to the end as you do with the creamy burrata.

Again – here is the pizza dough recipe I use & I make it in my bread machine.

PIZZA DOUGH

MAKES FOUR 12-OZ. BALLS

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp. sugar (⅞ oz.)
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more (½ oz.)
½ tsp. active dry yeast
5½ cups “00″ flour, preferably Caputo Pizzeria Flour (1 lb. 12 oz.) (or just use regular, organic flour – like me.)
2 tbsp. kosher salt (¾ oz.)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Combine sugar, oil, yeast, and 2 cups cold water in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook; let sit until foamy, 8-10 minutes. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. With motor running, slowly add flour mixture; mix until a smooth dough forms, 8-10 minutes. Transfer dough to a greased baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature 1 hour.

2. Divide dough into 4 balls; transfer to a greased 9″ x 13″ dish; brush tops with oil. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 48 hours (or get impatient like me & use it immediately).

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I also used leftover caramelized onions from my Caramelized Red Onion & Gruyere Pizza with Egg & Arugula.

Caramelized Red Onion

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough at room temperature

1/2 large red onion – sliced

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS butter (or vegan alternative)

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

Caramelize the onion by heating the olive oil & butter over med-low (NOT HIGH) heat.  Add the onion and salt & sugar and saute – stirring frequently – for about 20-30 minutes or until they are soft & brown & before they burn.  Mine crisped a bit on the edges & I liked that!  Set aside.

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I also used leftover spicy basil marinara.

For the spicy basil marinara

1 6 oz can tomato paste

2 28 oz crushed tomatoes

30 grape or cherry tomatoes – quartered

1 TBS olive oil

6 garlic cloves – chopped

1/2 cup chopped basil

1-3 tsp crushed red pepper – optional

S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil over medium heat & saute the garlic for about 30 seconds.  Add the tomato paste & fry another minute or so.  Add the crushed tomatoes, chopped tomatoes & basil & about 1 cup of water.  Add the crushed red pepper – if using.

Simmer covered on low for 30 minutes or more.

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Decadent Goat Cheese & Creamy Burrata Pizza with Arugula

INGREDIENTS

Pizza Dough – recipe above or your favorite dough

Pizza sauce – recipe above or your favorite version

Tomatoes – sliced thin (optional)

Caramelized onions (optional) – recipe above

Goat cheese

Burrata (or fresh mozzarella)

Arugula

S&P to taste

Crushed red pepper (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to a full 450-500 degrees.

Prep the ingredients.

Assemble the pizza!  Roll out the dough & put it on a greased cooking sheet.  Top with sauce, tomato, caramelized onion & goat cheese.  Add fresh mozzarella now – if you aren’t using burrata.  If using burrata – bake about 7-10 minutes & then add the burrata.  Bake another 3-5 minutes or until the crust is done to your liking & the goat cheese is just starting to color.  If you used burrata – you are really just trying to warm it through but do not cook it until it dries out.  The whole point of burrata is its excessive creaminess!

Top with S&P & some fresh arugula & crushed red pepper (if you like extra kick).

Slice this fucker up & eat it alone.  I won’t tell.

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Burrata & Arugula Pizza

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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LOTS going on today. I joined this wine club – The Tasting Room.  For like $8 – they sent me this starter kit.

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There are two whites on the right & four reds.  These are TINY bottles – not even a half glass in each.

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You go online & they give you a little survey as you taste them.  From your preferences, they determine the kinds of wine you are likely to enjoy & then begin sending you full-sized bottles of wine hand-picked for you.  Sounds cool, no?  I will keep you posted!

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In tragic news – we lost Colonel Meow this week.  He has 370,000 Facebook followers!  He was a rescue & only lived 2 1/2 years.  No word yet on what took him from us so prematurely but I will miss being addressed as his minion & I will miss hearing about his demands for “Scotch & treaties.”

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He was one glorious cat & I am very sorry for his family & their loss.

In happier news – some of you may remember Piglet, the mangy puppy I fostered this summer.  She was rescued looking like this:

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While I had her – she improved a lot.

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Friends of mine adopted her & she is now called Trixie & here she is with her new & forever BFF.

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Isn’t THAT a happy tale?  Congratulations, Trixie!

My book is out & the first appearances of the paperback have begun.  Here is my friend, actor/writer, Frank John Hughes, holding the first physical copy I laid my eyes on – if only in this photo.

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And here is a box of twenty that my friend Rose bought & that Amazon delivered ON A SUNDAY!

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This Saturday morning saw my badass boyfriend, Miles Miller, complete the first of four weeks shooting his first feature film, All the Birds Have Flown South.  Look at him here!  A mad genius at work – leaving observers stunned & awed.  HAWT!

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And now onto pizza!  This isn’t really a recipe.  Like lots of my pizzas – this is a suggestion.  Doesn’t it look delicious?  IT IS!  And here is how you do it!

Burrata & Arugula Pizza

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (I used THIS)

Tomato – sliced paper thin

Burrata – ROOM TEMPERATURE

Arugula

Tomato sauce (jarred or homemade)

S&P

Olive oil (I used a basil-infused olive oil)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to a full 450 degrees.

Treat a pizza cooking sheet with cooking spray.

Roll out some dough & place it on the cooking sheet.  Place tomato slices on it – leaving a border for the crust.  I put lots of S&P on it.  I filled in the gaps with a little tomato sauce.  Drizzle with a little oil.

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Bake about 10 minutes (more or less – based on the performance of your oven & thickness of the dough & toppings).  Once it is pretty much done – simply top it with the room temperature, gooey burrata.  No need to heat it if your burrata is sufficiently creamy.  My burrata came in small balls & was less creamy filling than it was thick mozzarella casing – so I spread it on the pizza & put in back in the oven for only a minute or two.  You do not want to dry out or brown the burrata.

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Add more S&P (if you like) & top the pizza with some naked arugula.  Drizzle with olive oil & slice that fucker up.  Oh!  And get online & order a copy of my book!  www.BathingBook.com  It is on sale today on Amazon for $9.59!!!

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Fresh Burrata Caprese Salad – Fresh Mozzarella with Heirloom Tomatoes & Basil Chiffonade

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

I covered this once before in July but it is worth a second peek.

First of all, caprese is pronounced ca-pray-zay with the emphasis on pray.  Another Italian menu item rampantly mispronounced is bruschetta.  It is not – as is so commonly thought – pronounced brush-etta – but rather brusketta.   You are less likely to get corrected by anyone if you say brushetta, because most people think this is the proper pronunciation, but nobody from Italy wold ever correct your saying brusketta.  Anyway…

Burrata – definition courtesy Wikipedia:

Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. It is also defined by some sources as an outer shell of mozzarella filled with butter or a mixture of butter and sugar. It is usually served fresh, at room temperature. The name “burrata” means “buttered” in Italian.

Burrata is gaining in popularity and with that comes greater accessibility.  If you have COSTCO in your region – Costco has been carrying it & it is reasonably priced.  Sometimes Trader Joe’s has it – also at a fair price.  At these places – it comes the way buffalo mozzarella does – floating in water in a plastic container in the refrigerated section.  If you are lucky enough to have a fine cheese shop or, even better, an authentic Italian market around – you are about to be in heaven.  These places will likely have it stored in water or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap – and sitting out at room temperature – as it should be.

Burrata is a very mildly flavored cheese and it shouldn’t have to compete with anything to be experienced at its best. Sliced, ripe tomatoes, shredded basil and some salt & pepper is all I would suggest.  Ever.  If you want to get fancy, you can cut your basil in the chiffonade style – which is just to roll the basil into tubes the long way & then slice into thin strips.  It creates little basil ribbons.  Pretty – but not entirely necessary.

Heirloom tomatoes are nice here (with burrata) because they tend to be genuinely ripe – rather than dyed red (or yellow or green).  They are very costly, though.  I paid $4 for one yellow/orange heirloom tomato yesterday, where the “vine-ripe” tomatoes were only $1.49 lb.   The heirlooms were closer to $5 a pound.  But there really is a huge difference.

In my opinion, burrata isn’t good for cooking because it is far too wet & too mild to compete flavor-wise.  On its own, it is a creamy delight.  Serve it as pictured and maybe serve some crusty bread & a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc you are good to go!

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PRINT THIS RECIPE

Fresh Burrata Caprese Salad – Fresh Mozzarella with Heirloom Tomatoes & Basil Chiffonade

INGREDIENTS

About 1 very ripe tomato per person – sliced

Enough Burrata (or fresh mozzarella if burrat is unavailable) to cover the tomato slices – sliced

Lots of shredded, chopped basil or basil chiffonade

S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS

Slice your tomatoes about 1/2 inch think.  Same with the cheese.  Top the tomatoes with the cheese, basil and S&P.  Voila!

Cheers~