Proving this most sumptuous of cheeses isn't just for summer salads
This was an experimental dish that I came up with, inspired by someone I follow on Instagram who was eating what looked to be the most divine supper (anything with burrata is heavenly though isn't it?) in the depths of winter. His concoction involved some super-special burrata and a who-knows-what lentil mix beneath it, so here's my version, with a few dressed leaves on the side for token health...
1 tin of cooked lentils, rinsed and drained
Handful chopped parsley
1/2 jar of sun-dried tomatoes, and some of their oil
3-4tsp pesto, plus extra olive oil
Salad leaves, dressed with sun-dried tomato oil and balsamic vinegar
OK, so the main ingredient here is a cheat, but hopefully one that isn't too hard to get your hands on. If you see it for sale, stock up on a few packets of the tomatoey lentils as they are delicious and a good addition to lots of other lentil-based stews or just to go with sausages if you're bored of mash.
In a saucepan start to gently heat some of the oil from the sun-dried tomato jar. Add into this a handful of chopped parsley (I used fresh, but if you have frozen that's fine, just thaw it out under a warm tap and squeeze out the excess water). Remember, this is gentle heat, so the parsley shouldn't start to frazzle or fry. Add in the Merchant Gourmet lentils and a tin of plain lentils (I used the Waitrose essentials lentils in water). I would advice rinsing and drain the tinned lentils before you add them. Stir them all together in the saucepan and then add in about half a jar (or 6 or so pieces) of sun-dried tomato, chopped into smaller bits and a couple of decent teaspoons of pesto. Stir well. It should be warming up in the pan now, but not sizzling. The idea here is to just gently warm the ingredients, as they don't need cooking and you don't want them piping hot. Season them well with lots of black pepper and taste for salt.
While the lentil mixture is warming, drain your burrata, handling them as little as possible. I slit open the plastic tops and drain out the water, not removing the cheese from its protective home until needed. Also, dress some mixed green leaves - rocket or herb salad is perfect - and then start to plate up. Halve the lentil mixture between two plates (I kept it to one side, so the salad could fill the other half) and pat down an indent in it for the buratta to be placed into. Then you can carefully take the delicate cheese out of its pot and pop it on. Once that's done, add the dressed leaves to the other side of the plate and in a jug mix a couple of teaspoons of pesto with a glug of good olive oil to make a dressing. Pour this liberally over the jiggling white burrata and around the sides over the lentils and salad.
If you want to make this recipe for one person, then I would say just use the cheat packet of tasty tomatoey lentils from Merchant Gourmet and not add the extra plain lentils. You may find you need fewer sun-dried tomatoes too. You can add a teaspoon of rose harissa to the side of the plate for an added flavour, but I found it wasn't necessary. Also, in the depths of winter you might want to replace the salad leaves with green beans or tender stem broccoli, dressed with olive oil, parsley and capers perhaps.
As a further variation, you could replace the burrata with a soft-poached egg, or a grilled chicken breast.
We had a rather nice New Zealand chardonnay with this dish, and its fresh lemony notes cut through the rich lentils and cheese perfectly. Try it with a sauvignon blanc too, or a light red, such as a New Zealand pinot noir.