Some foods are just so decadent that they can only be described as food of the gods. Burrata definitely falls into this category without question. This cheese is so rich and creamy with a texture unlike any other food I have ever eaten. And I have eaten a lot of food.
Burrata is stretched/shredded mozzarella cheese mixed with a thick cream the Italians call stracciatella. Both are mixed together and placed inside of a "pouch" of fresh mozzarella which is then sealed closed like a scrunched-up paper bag. It's description doesn't do it any justice! But, buying a package of it, cutting it open very gently and preparing it in either of these two ways, will! I promise. And I don't do that often...
150 g burrata cheese
2 T very good quality extra virgin olive oil
maldon salt & fresh cracked pepper
1-2 t aged balsamic vinegar (optional, but must be aged and thick!)
1 fresh, good quality ciabatta or baguette
Technically, burrata can be enjoyed many ways. I've had it in lovely salads full of roasted beets, avocado and ripe summer tomatoes. I have had it atop a crostini with summer peaches, basil and olive oil or aged Italian ham and though it adds incredible elements of texture and flavor to those kinds of dishes, I mostly crave it in its most naked form. The fanciest I often get, is by adding a little bit of aged balsamic vinegar which is like a concentrated, thick and sweeter syrup than the younger balsamic vinegars. You can choose which of the two dishes to try. Or, of course, try them both and compare. The aged balsamic adds a little extra depth with a touch of sweetness. But, I stand by my belief which is; to really appreciate burrata cheese and all it has to offer in texture and flavor, you need to go back to basics with it quite regularly.
So, how do we cut it open....serve and inevitably, dig in....? Let's get to it shall we...
First off, drain the liquid and gently pat the burrata(s) dry. Then, lay it/them in the middle of the serving plate. I have accidentally been too rough while plating this cheese and it has exploded from the bottom and leaked onto the plate, which is exactly what you don't want. If the cream from inside is allowed to spread out onto the plate right away, the stretched mozzarella and the cream begin to separate.
Once laying gently in its place, and using a sharp knife, cut the circular cheese as if you are trying to make it blossom like a flower while never cutting all the way through to the plate! Start in the center with your knife and cut towards the outside. Repeat in a circular pattern. Then sort of peel back those "petals" with the knife to expose the love that rests inside. Next, sprinkle generously with salt & freshly cracked pepper and drizzle with very good quality extra virgin olive oil. It's your choice whether or not to add the aged balsamic. Serve it with a small spoon, so your guests can cut through the rest of the cheese and scoop both the cream and mozzarella onto a nice piece of bread.
In the picture above, I used three small rounds of burrata which equaled 150 g instead of one larger one. I find that they make for a better plated dish because it fills the plate a bit more. 1 larger burrata, just looks too small.