Sunday, October 4, 2015

Burrata and Balsamic Caprese Salad

First things first, we need to talk about Burrata.  If you haven't had the pleasure of this fresh Italian cheese, we need to remedy that immediately.  The best way to describe this fresh and decadent cheese is it is basically a shell of mozzarella with a cream center.  This creates a delicious taste and a most wonderfully creamy texture.  It works beautifully in place of standard mozzarella in the Caprese salad.  I love to make a Caprese salad for guests or to bring to a potluck because it is a delicious and an easy low-carb salad.  With just three main ingredients of tomatoes, basil and cheese, you can't go wrong.  Using the Burrata takes it up a notch and in my opinion, is easier to prepare because you don't have to pre-slice the cheese.  Because the center is filled with cream, you want to slice into it as you eat.  Just throw it all together in a bowl, season with salt, pepper, EVOO and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar served with some toasted bread for those not eating low-carb and you are good to go.  This is sure to be a crowd pleaser with ANY crowd!

This is what you need:

1 lb of Tomatoes ( if you can get Heirlooms, do so!  If not, Roma would be perfect)
1-1 1/2 cup of Basil Leaves - torn
1 Baguette of Sourdough or French bread - sliced
1 12-16 oz Container of Burrata Cheese - 2 balls (if you can't find Burrata, fresh mozzarella will be fine)
2 tbsp EVOO
1-2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper

This is what you do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, slice the bread and drizzle with EVOO.  Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes.  Slice the tomatoes in about 2 inch by 1 inch pieces and tear or cut the basil to roughly the same size.  Grab a medium size bowl and layer the tomato on the bottom, add the two balls of burrata and then layer the remaining tomato and basil all around.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper around each layer.  When finished, add the EVOO and balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.  Remove toasted bread from the oven and serve!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6-10

First thing to do is preheat your oven to 350 degrees and slice your baguette.  Arrange slices on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with EVOO.  Place in oven and bake for 13-15 minutes.

As the bread bakes, slice your tomatoes.  I have an obsession with heirloom tomatoes and am lucky enough to live in SoCal and have access to them year round.  However, if you do not or can't find them, Roma tomatoes are a great choice too.
You want to slice them about 2 inches by 1 inch and about 1/4 inch thick. 

Next, tear or slice your basil leaves to roughly the same size. 

Now, get your burrata balls ready and grab a medium sized serving bowl and make a layer of tomato on the bottom. Then place the burrata on top and drizzle a bit of EVOO and sprinkle salt and pepper on it.
 The fresh cheese is packed in water to maintain its moisture. You can find this cheese at most specialty stores, some supermarkets and Trader Joes.

Now just start layering the tomato and basil leaves and EVOO and salt and pepper.  You want to season a few different times to make sure each layer is just as delicious as the next!
So gorgeous.

When you have filled the bowl, drizzle a generous portion of EVOO and balsamic vinegar along with salt and pepper all over the top. 

Remove the bread from the oven and serve warm along side the Caprese.  I have eaten it with the bread and without, and it is delicious both ways!  If you are doing low-carb, don't be afraid of this salad!  However, the liquid that remains from the tomatoes, EVOO, balsamic and cream is quite possibly liquid gold.  Dipping bread in that juice will make your life worth living.  

Be sure to include a good knife and fork for serving and begin by slicing into the cheese and layering tomato, basil and cheese on a slice of bread. 

I'm telling you, you will not be sad you made this!  It is incredible and very impressive to look at it.  And the best part is it is SO easy!  It would be perfect for a holiday appetizer or salad.  Let me know what you think!