Perfectly Paired for Summer: Tomatoes and Wisconsin Burrata

Burrata-Caprese-2-square

By Liz Thorpe

Liz Thorpe is a cheese expert, author and consultant. She is currently writing her second book about cheese to be published by Flatiron Books in Fall 2016.

Burrata-Intro

My attitude about cooking with cheese is that I want to keep things as simple as possible so I can really celebrate and savor the textures and flavors of the cheese itself. I don’t want the cheese to be a mere ingredient or seasoning—I want it to be the star.

Luckily, summer offers up so much incredible produce that combining a few perfect foods becomes a no-brainer pleasure. Here are two of my household staples for these hot months when tomatoes are in brief and luscious season:

Burrata-BLT

Thick, succulent, cream-filled burrata replaces mayonnaise in this summer classic and offers a milky, pillowy counterpart to smoky bacon and juicy, ripe tomato

Burrata BLT
 
Servings: 2
 
Ingredients:
4 slices thick-cut bacon
8 ounces Wisconsin burrata cheese
4 slices Pullman loaf or other white bread (This is the only time I skip multigrain. White bread is classic for a reason.)
1 perfectly ripe tomato, cored
2 leaves butter or romaine lettuce
 
Directions: 
Fry bacon over medium heat to your preference of browned to crunchy; drain on paper towels. Break the 4 slices into 8 equal pieces total.
 
Take burrata out of the fridge so it has 15-20 minutes to lose its chill.
 
Toast bread; while bread is toasting wash and dry lettuce leaves and thinly slice tomato.
 
Cut burrata in half so creamy insides are exposed; smear two pieces of bread with burrata as you would with mayonnaise.
 
For each sandwich, layer lettuce, overlapping tomato slices, half the burrata and four half-slices of bacon on bread slice. (Place 2 pieces of bacon side-by-side and then the remaining 2 perpendicular so you have a solid layer of bacon); top with additional 2-3 slices of tomato before capping with the bread (burrata’d side down).
 
Slice in half with chef’s knife.


Burrata-Caprese-2
Upgrade the classic caprese salad with the cream-filled mozzarella-like cheese burrata and serve this plate communally so everyone can dig in together.

Better Caprese
 
Servings: 4-6
 
Ingredients:
5-6 perfectly ripe summer tomatoes, out of refrigeration at least 6 hours, cored and thinly sliced
Kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil; ideally with a softer, sweeter flavor profile like Spanish Arbequina olive oil
8 ounces Wisconsin burrata (1 large 8-ounce ball or 2 smaller 4-ounce balls)
Handful of basil
1 loaf crusty bread (sourdough, baguette)
 
Directions:
At least 1 hour before serving, layer tomato slices on large platter. If you need to make them more than 1 layer high, sprinkle with kosher salt before adding second layer.
 
Drizzle generously with olive oil.
 
Allow tomatoes to macerate in salt and oil; they will shed their juices, making a soppable, delicious broth.
 
Just before serving, roll basil leaves and slice thinly (chiffonade); shower tomatoes with shredded basil.
 
Plop burrata atop tomatoes; use a paring knife to cut cheese open so insides begin to ooze onto tomatoes. Serve with forks, small knives and crusty bread; encourage your guests to mix burrata and tomatoes, and soak up the juices straight from the platter.


Still hungry? Check out more Wisconsin cheese summer pairing ideas here.

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