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  • Writer's pictureCampbell Whitman

Burrata me this...Burrata me that...

Updated: May 20, 2020

I imagine that in mythological times, burrata cheese must have been a special product that was only meant for the gods. It's the kind of food I'm not particularly enthusiastic about wanting to share with anyone, which I just realized is quite strange, since I serve it very often at parties....hmmmm...

It has a flavor and a texture that is very much unlike any of its "famous-for-being-famous" siblings; like mozzarella or mozzarella di bufala; which is ironic, because, wouldn't cha know, burrata is actually made form a combination of the two.

Burrata is a round cheese, like mozzarella, but it's a much fancier version of it. The outer shell is in fact made of mozzarella, which acts like a water balloon of sorts, holding inside this creamy, lava-like mixture of stracciatella di bufala & cream. Stracciatella di bufala is actually a pulled or shredded buffalo milk cheese, and when mixed with cream, it creates that distinct, creamier than creamy, lava-like substance that everyone wants to smash into their face. Even my father, who says mozzarella is like flavorless whale blubber, but while attending one of my parties, he excitedly asked me, "What kind of cheese is this!?" And I gladly informed him it was fancy whale blubber! HA! HA! HA!

When serving burrata, I set the ball in the middle of a wide bowl and sort of slice it open with the tip of a very sharp, short knife, as if it was a flower about to blossom. This allows it to evenly distribute the thicker skin along with the creamy/shredded filling. You don't want to overly cut it, or it makes the cream break apart from the stretched cheese in the filling and that only makes for a mutilated cheese plate.

An additional tip, I make my burrata cheese plates a couple of different ways. The first, with VERY GOOD quality, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil, and basil leaves with salt & pepper. You just drizzle 3-4 tablespoons of oil over the top, break the basil leaves off whole and let them rain down from above. The second, you begin with all the same ingredients as above, but with the addition of a couple of tablespoons of VERY GOOD quality, aged balsamic vinegar that has a more syrup-like consistency. This introduces a sweet, acidic flavor that works very well against the creaminess of the cheese itself. And third, occasionally, I begin with one of the two above, and add sliced ripe tomatoes or roasted red peppers to the mix for more flavor. I usually stick to the first two because burrata is an ingredient that needs no blanketing from other flavors. It is the star of most shows and it should be left alone to shine, shine, shine!

But if you're a little more adventurous, you can make a wonderful salad of colorful beets, tomatoes & pine nuts served atop a large mound of butter lettuce and whole basil leaves. Then make a simple balsamic vinaigrette, toast some ciabatta in butter (in a pan) and BAM! That's a banging meal! Oh now I want to eat that. Recipe to to follow...


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