Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Degree of difficulty: easy if shopping's good where you are
Time: 10 minutes
Think back to last February, beginning of the month, when Chicago experienced the huge blizzard that stranded a thousand cars on Lake Shore Drive. The weekend that followed all that mess was when we went to visit Nick. We were two of about six tourists who thought it fun to slog around the Windy City. Only single-wide paths had been chiseled through the massive snow piles at the streetcorners. Even Lake Shore Drive itself was still sketchy. Lane would be going along and then...peter away. (The snow plow driver's shift must've ended.)
Since we had the restaurants all to ourselves, we wound up in a rather nice one in the theater district. One of the featured appetizers was burrata. Sounded interesting.
Well. It was such a pleasant combination of salty, sweet, bitter and creamy that I made it for a dinner party back in New Albany the next weekend. Mary and Jack were there, and Mary went crazy over it. To the point that she even tried to make the cheese herself. That took a great while, and, I think she'd admit, was way too much of a time-suck.
While burrata is apparently not that easy to find--our Italian market, Carfagna, said they only get it for holidays since it has a short shelf life and is flown over wrapped in lemon leaves(!)--Whole Foods has it. And since Matt was here last night and had never tasted burrata, perfect. He loved it. So much, he even shot it on his iPhone for this post.
1 container burrata: burrata is fresh mozzarella filled with shreds of mozzarella soaked in cream (Whole Foods has Bel Gioioso brand, in 8 oz. containers, 2 burratas per container)
A handful of pitted dates
Prosciutto, crisped in a pan for a bit
Arugula for garnish
Balsamic reduction to drizzle over cheese (and over the plate if you want to create fancy designs): take 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar, reduce by half in small saucepan, add 1 teaspoon brown sugar, swirl for a sec, reduce another minute, and cool slightly before serving
Crostini (French bread, toasted slightly)
Arrange the elements on a serving tray, and serve.
Suggested soundtrack: Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years" just because it's lush and beautiful, not because of the vampire thing