Thursday, February 27, 2014

Burrata and Sardines, Together at Last?


Last weekend, we had the simplest little lunch—a light snack—that satisfied in so many different ways.  Salty, sweet, sour, savory.  Ok, we might even have said there was a little (chutney) spice involved as well and thus round out all the flavors.  And the texture?  Crusty, chewy, creamy.

I have to start my explanation by going a bit further back.  In case you haven’t been acquainted with it, burrata consists of soft buffalo mozzarella skin filled with fresh cream and shredded mozzarella.  It’s quite heavenly—and perishable, and expensive.  Thank goodness one ball of burrata can serve many people (2-4, depending on size) since its richness is a bit too much for one.

Last September, I wrote about my new infatuation with burrata and talked about a way you could enjoy this creamy cheese (click here for that post).  It seemed to us that the creaminess of the cheese needed to be complemented by the savory and briny roasted vegetables we had with it.  Since then—two weeks ago to be more precise—we discovered that there is actually a better way to complement burrata.  At Anteprima, an Andersonville (Chicago neighborhood) Italian restaurant, they served burrata with a light sprinkling of sea salt, toasted bread slices, and peach jam!  It was brilliant.


We decided to repeat the snack at home.  We no longer had access to the very expensive and exclusive burrata we were able to purchase last time, but we were actually quite happy with the (still expensive but) more commercial BelGioso brand that was readily available at the market.  You can see the BelGioso half-slice in the above picture is much less creamy than the one from the September post, but we enjoyed both kinds.  One was more unctuous and special-occasion, but I could see eating the BelGioso with a bit more regularity.

We toasted some slices of sesame nut covered baguette, sprinkled a tiny bit of Maldon sea salt on the cheese (don’t overdo the salt), and served the burrata with Stonewall Kitchen Old Farmhouse Chutney (with apples, cranberries, and peaches).  We enjoyed this twist on cheese-and-chutney-on-bread snack.  Then we tried the cheese with some strawberry preserves.  Well, that was, believe it or not, a superior combination.  (Will described it as like eating scones with clotted cream and jam, and it was every bit as decadent as that experience!)


To round out a meal which might seem too much like dessert, we supplemented with some canned sardines with homemade balsamic glaze (with the recipe available here). 


It was a perfectly civilized and simple little snack that required no cooking (unless you consider heating the oven and spooning out jams cooking) and yet seemed special and gourmet at the same time.


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