Burrata and tomato salad
A heavenly way of serving this most indulgent of soft cheeses
This is less of a recipe per se, more an assemblage.... (if that's a word?). But in true Larder Then Life style, I'm writing this post so that I don't forget next summer (or next week) how I made it. It looks incredibly simple - and it really is. In fact I'm not sure there is another food out there (for me at least) that has such a high pleasure to faff ratio. But although simple, there are some very important steps that really make all the difference to this delicious dish.
2-3 tomatoes (these could be heritage, multi-coloured or just bought in the supermarket, but they really should be on the vine and as close to Italian farmers' market ones as possible)
Salt & pepper
1tsp good quality pesto
Slug of best quality olive oil
Basil leaves (I used greek basil here, but any variety will do)
Start by taking those tomatoes out of the fridge, unless you're amazingly trendy and keep them at room temperature anyway. This dish will only he half so tasty if you use fridge-cold tommies. Slice them how you choose. This might depend on how many you have and how big your plates are. I said 2-3 in the ingredients, but use as many as you like really. Sometimes I slice the larger ones the 'normal' way, and smaller ones from the base up to jazz it up a bit. Any left over little 'scrags', like the bits around the stem (which I would highly recommend you cut out of any slice affected by it) you can pop in the middle as they'll be hidden by the burrata.
Once sliced and arranged on the plate, season the tomatoes well with good, but fine, salt. If necessary you can leave them out (but protected from flies etc) for an hour or two - let that salt work its magic. But not to worry if you're hungrily and greedily making this in haste. Once seasoned, sprinkle basil leaves around the tommies and add a few twists of ground black pepper.
Next pop a teaspoon of pesto into a small jug or jam jar and slacken it with some really good quality extra virgin olive oil. Fun fact: EVOO is the second most faked/adulterated foodstuff in the world, the first being Manuka honey. But I'm sure you've got something good stashed away - now is the time to use it.
Now you're ready to assemble. Your burrata will probably come in a plastic tub and need draining, so do this very carefully as the outer skin of the burrata is easily broken. I tip the cheese out into my hand over the sink, letting the fluid around it cascade out, then in one motion pop it on the plate, 'tummy button' side down. Wash your hands and then set to with your pesto oil. Liberally dash and drop it over the tomatoes and even let some slickly slide down the milky white surface of the cheese. Add another slug of olive oil around the plate too and some more freshly ground black pepper. Then guard it with your life as it will now be the most delicious thing currently on the planet.
The only things that are sacrosanct are: room temperature tomatoes, well seasoned, and good quality burrata and olive oil. I wouldn't add vinegar to the dish as it would so easily overpower the mild cheese. You could swap the basil for fresh young thyme or oregano at a push and definitely experiment with different pestos - I've tried it with my homemade wild garlic pesto and that was fabulous. And don't forget some bread to mop up the milky, oily, herby, tomato juices at the end of the heaven-sent meal.
The obvious choice here is a pale blushing rosé - something like Chase, Whispering Angel, Aix or Ultimate Province. Taurus Wines have a fabulous selection here.