When Anthea told me we would be featuring California cheeses this month, I was instantly excited because one of my all-time favorite cheeses is made here. Since fresh cheeses don’t travel well, I’m thankful that some California cheesemakers have begun making burrata. My favorite domestic burrata is made in Southern California by Vito Girardi of Gioia Cheese, who hails from Apulia–the birthplace of burrata–and uses a traditional Italian recipe to make his cheese.
I found a quote that really resonated with my thoughts on the cheese:
“Essentially, burrata is nothing more than mozzarella stuffed with mozzarella — the outer skin is the same pasta filata curd, and the filling is a rough mix of unfinished curd and heavy cream. But that nuts-and-bolts description doesn’t begin to do the cheese justice. Burrata is to mozzarella as foie gras is to chicken liver.”
~Russ Parsons, Los Angeles Times
Burrata is especially enjoyable at this time of year because it pairs so nicely with tomatoes! Normally my favorite way to eat it is simple: fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, my favorite olive oil (personally I am swayed by McEvoy), salt, pepper and maybe a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. For this month’s Cooking with Curds recipe, I came up with my own spin on this classic: let’s go sweet instead of savory, and enjoy the peak of summer stone fruit!
A Sweet Spin on Caprese
(serves approx. 4-6 as an appetizer)
2 4oz bags of Gioia Burrata
2 plums (any combo of stone fruit is great–taste your way to your favorites in our produce section!)
2 springs fresh mint
½ cup hazelnuts
peel of 1 lemon
Bi-Rite rooftop honey (whatever quantity your heart desires!)
sprinkle of red pepper flakes
salt and black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350° F to toast hazelnuts.
- Slice assorted stone fruit into 6-8 wedges each.
- Pick mint leaves from stems.
- Put hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast, about 5-10 minutes.
- Zest lemon (if you don’t have a zester, peel the lemon skin and finely julienne). Be careful not get too much pith since it can be bitter.
- Cut burrata into large pieces (about 4 per 4 oz bag) and season with salt and pepper.
- Remove hazelnuts from oven and roughly chop.
- Place stone fruit on a large plate, cutting board, or platter evenly distributing the different varieties.
- Sprinkle burrata in different areas as your artistic side sees fit
- Season the dish with salt and pepper (very important to make sure to season the burrata and the entire dish)
- Scatter mint leaves and toasted hazelnuts across the dish.
- Drizzle honey over the entire dish, making sure to cover the burrata.
- Sprinkle crushed chili flakes.
- Garnish the burrata itself with the lemon zest.
- Grab a bottle of rosé or sparkling wine and share with friends. Cheers!