Burrata. I love to make it, love to eat it, love to serve it. I heart it in Italy the most since it’s often made from water buffalo as opposed to the plain ol’ cow we tend to use here in the US. I resorted to learning how to make it myself last year after a particularly poignant visit to Piedmont that was bathed in burrata superiority. I returned stateside, tasted one rubbery bite of store-bought burrata and avowed I would satiate my desires by making it myself from now on. It’s just one of those things that really should be eaten virtually the second it’s made, and that’s too hard to sort out for an esoteric cheese in this geographically-vast country. In Seattle DeLaurenti occasionally makes it, and will certainly make you some if given a bit of notice, but you could just learn how to make it from me, then you’ll be swimming in creamy divinity from now until forever. You can read about how I learned to make burrata here, and I’m always happy to put together a class if you’re local and interested.
Burrata has a very neutral taste. Its splendor lies in its texture more than anything, which makes it a versatile centerpiece for an appetizer tray. I prepared each ball of burrata quite differently and both plates were synergies of ingredients, just in varied ways. I’ve been marinating some thinly sliced rhubarb in a tad of maple syrup mixed with the juice of a tangelo and a sprig of rosemary for two days.
I like raw rhubarb because it holds its form and has more flavor than after it’s cooked to unrecognizable mush. It softens a little from marination, and also loses the bitter kick present if you simply gnaw on a stalk. In short, try it, it’s one of those perfect foods you’ll wish you’d discovered sooner. I served the first burrata ball with rhubarb slices and fava froth, which I simply whipped up using an immersion blender, favas, mint and meyer lemon. You may be blanching at the word “froth.” Well I certainly can’t call it a “foam” in the current post-WD50 culinary climate, but the texture is far from a “puree” which is a bit of a tired way to serve favas, IMHO. Froth seems an ample adjective because it remained light and airy but still managed to distill every ounce of fava flavor and bring it straight forward on the palate.
My second burrata plating consisted of homemade pita triangles and fresh chickpeas shelled and lightly sautéed in butter and Portugese flor de sal. Because the initial serving suggested sweetness with the maple-rhubarb slices, I wanted to deliberately showcse burrata’s ability to land on the savory side of the spectrum.
Fresh chickpeas are a revelation of nature; shell and taste a raw one sometime and you’ll forever attempt to recreate the innocent perfection that hit your tongue. They are in the throes of ripeness right now in the Western part of the US; if you can find them at your local farmer’s market I suggest you buy up a hefty stock. They can be served raw drizzled in lemon and good olive oil, lightly sautéed, even steamed and added to pasta. In this case a quick sauté in a bath of butter proves just right to match the satin decadence of burrata (which incidentally means “buttered” in the mother tongue.) Piping pita triangles just out of the oven complete the dish.