ingredients: burrata

When it comes to cheese, I'm all about texture: Those slightly gritty crystals you'll find a good gruyère. The creamy, buttery smoothness of comté. The waxy al dente of taleggio. The oozy funk of a washed rind langres. But of all the cheeses in the land, few make my heart skip a beat like the mind-bending creaminess of burrata.

Fresh heirloom tomatoes with burrata, olive oil, oregano and Maldon salt.

Fresh heirloom tomatoes with burrata, olive oil, oregano and Maldon salt.

My feelings for burrata are so strong that I often have to remind myself not to order the burrata appetizer at restaurants. When you've got a penchant for certain ingredients (for me, that includes octopus, lemon curd and za'atar, among others), I always think it's wise to ask: "Is this dish really that unique? Will ordering it be the best way to experience this restaurant?" 

More often than not, burrata salads are just an opportunity for a chef to do very little and make up for some of the more laborious dishes on his menu. (One noteworthy exception that comes to mind is the charred bread/salsa verde burrata dish at Estela in NYC.) You can usually buy twice the amount of burrata for half the price of that restaurant dish and simply make a beautiful salad at home.

That's exactly what I did this weekend, with a little help from my beloved Park Slope Food Coop. It's not tomato season quite yet, but I couldn't help myself when I saw these hothouse heirloom beauties. Drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with Maldon salt and fresh oregano, they were the perfect foil for burrata's creaminess. If you've got some stale bread laying around, don't hesitate to toast it and toss a few rustic croutons on top.