9/20/10

Burrata Cheese with Nectarines, Mâche, and Hazelnuts

We’ve talked a little bit about burrata on this show, haven’t we? (Do you think I could get the world to start calling blogs shows if I keep referring to Bon Appetempt as my show? Let’s find out!) Matt and I are obsessed with this cream-infused fresh mozzarella. Almost once a week this summer, we’ve made our dinner out of tomatoes, garlic bread and this remarkable cheese doused with just a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

So simple and easy, except for the fact that the very clear winner of burrata brands can only be found at Bristol Farms, an upscale and even pricier store than the ones we normally go to. (For Rachel-Zoe watchers, it's the grocery store where she goes to buy the passover turkey with her assistant and Roger. (Roger is wearing his sunglasses the whole time and not really digging it.)) So it’s a little bit of a hassle and it's kind of expensive, but this burrata is so much better than the ones found elsewhere in Los Angeles that we deal with it, smiling even, as we know what’s in store for us later.

So, when I found this recipe in Outstanding in the Field—my newest favorite cookbook—and it mentioned that the best burrata was this certain kind by this third-generation cheese maker, Vito Girardi, and that it was made in West Los Angeles, I started to freak out a bit. Was there a better burrata out there and right under my nose? (Matt and I live in what could be considered West L.A.) I Googled Vito immediately and found this LA Times article only to very-satisfyingly confirm that the burrata Matt and I have come to know and love is that very burrata by Vito Girardi. Check it out, friends. The best burrata ever. (Thanks, Sean and Sara for introducing us. It was love at first taste.)
Now, Outstanding in the Field showcases their burrata salad a little differently than we are used to. The recipe calls for nectarines instead of tomatoes, some greens called mâche and no balsamic vinegar. I was very curious.

When Matt saw what I was up to, he wasn't as curious and in fact, more like: “What the ef is mâche and why are you ruining my favorite food with it?”


our version:
Though Matt was being way harsh on the mâche, he did have a good point. What the ef was mâche? And how was it pronounced? Luckily, mâche knows that it may not be the most well known lettuce leaf on the market—helpfully, the inside of the plastic container explained: "Mâche is a delicious and delicate European salad green now field-grown in California. Its beautiful rosette shape, pleasant nutty flavor, and vibrant green color make Mâche the ultimate salad experience."

Also, thanks to NPR, I know it's pronounced mahsh, which gives me a Halloween costume idea: Monster Mâche. Thoughts?
It was a really lovely salad and one I would definitely make again. The tartness of the nectarines complemented the sweet, creamy mellowness of the burrata, and the toasted hazelnuts added to the overall indulgence. Matt, on the other hand, doesn't care for lovely when it comes to salad. He wanted a do-over and definitely made fun of what he called mache's valiant attempt at marketing itself as the ultimate salad experience. Have I mentioned Matt's garlic bread before? It's hard for lettuce and fruit to compete with that much garlic and butter.

So that's all for this show, folks. Tune in next week when we tackle either another Kenny Shopsin original or Thomas Keller's brownies or something else entirely!

Recipe via Outstanding in the Field

1/4 cup shelled hazelnuts
2 ripe nectarines
3 to 4 ounces mache
8 ounces burrata cheese at room temperature
kosher salt and freshly gorund black pepper
2 tbsps olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Spread the hazelntus on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until they are fragrant and their skins loosen, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the hazelnuts to a plate and let cool slightly. Rub the hazelnuts in a folded kitchen towel to release their skins. Coarsely chop the nuts and set aside.

Cut the nectarines in half and remove the pits. Slice the fruits into thin wedges. Wash the mache in a  sink filled with cold water. Carefully remove any dirt or sand stuck between the leaves and discard any root ends. Dry the mache in a salad spinner.
Cut the burrata into 1/4-inch thick slices; because it is very soft, it might be easier to slice with a serrated knife. Arrange the cheese on 6 chilled salad plates. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

In a medium bowl, toss together the mache and the nectarines with the remaining olive oil. Season with salt. Arrange on top of the burrata. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts and serve.
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22 comments:

Andrea said...

So, are you saying the salad was good, but it didn't mache up to your usual burrata dinner for Matt?

Ana Degenaar said...

My that looks great! I could eat that right this second!

Anonymous said...

Haha. Good one Andrea! It is kind of amazing how much better that Burrata is than anything else I've had in the Burrata dept.
-Matttt

Rachel said...

Burrata looks awesome - I need to find some of that. By the way, while perusing obscure documentaries on netflix, I came across "I Like Killing Flies." Have you seen it? I haven't watched it, but it made me think of you.

amelia said...

Rachel: we had that on our Netflix queue for like EVER and we could never get it in for some reason. Thanks for reminding us!! We love Kenny big time!

Amy said...

Wow...this looks great! Your salad looks MUCH yummier, too. I have never heard of this cheese...hmmm, do they sell it in Pgh? And, I've been pronouncing this lettuce incorrectly...glad to know the right way to say it so I'll no longer look like an idiot.
Oh, and Andrea, that was was funny!
Matt...I don't think Jan will bring this in to work for your Dad if I make it : )

Mark and Marsha said...

We love this post. The best burrata in Pittsburgh is at Il Pizzaiolo. On Fridays it is flown in fresh from Naples, Italy. Amy and Jan you have to venture south over the river and through the tunnel. You won't regret it and you'll like it very mache.

Neal said...

Jodi and I have been just as into the burrata dinner this summer. I just found our precious Gioia at The Larchmont wine and cheese shop for 8.99.

amelia said...

NEAL: thanks! good to know!

is your body responding to the lactose better?

Mary Anne said...

dear amelia,

thanks for rubbing it in that the seattle summer was SO LAME this year that the tomato crop has been pathetic. it hurts me. i'm going to find some fancy burrata and make this tomato-less salad instead to console myself!

Neal said...

I've been pain free and burrata full. My body knows better than to mess with around with me when i'm eating expensive cheese.

amelia said...

neal: you are an inspiration for the dairy-product-loving lactose-intolerant!

Megan Taylor said...

OH EM GEE ... have you seen the latest Martha Stewart Living? It's actually a shock that I have but when you're at SFO with a 3 hour flight delay you'll buy just about anything! I don't have anything against Martha, it's just something I'd never pick up. But how could I resist! It was her October Issue and there's a HUGE section on Hazelnuts...reminds me of your blog just now...cozy, festive, tasty. Very interested in that SALAD!

amelia said...

dearest megan: have i seen the latest Martha Stewart Living? YES. I SUBSCRIBE. to be fair, my mom bought me the subscription, but still... I'm in pretty deep. The hazelnut story made me want to book a plane to hazelnut country. I could almost smell the air from those photos. And what about that tart that looks like a framed painting? consider it on my to-do list.

Megan Taylor said...

Amelia: Can't wait to see your bon appetempt at that tart!

Bridget said...

i just have to say that you have the best blog title ever.

Brock said...

nice NAIL POLISH !!!

Heather Taylor said...

the salad, the nail polish, the comment conversation between you and megan. couldn't love it more.

Mary Anne said...

Thanks to you, I knew to buy Gioia burrata when I saw it at the store this week. I had never before tasted it. It was just as good as you made it sound. Soooooooo good with the caprese salad I made. Thanks, Bon Appetempt!!

sinosoul.com said...

If you do live in W. LA, the Angelo & Franco cheese factory might be closer to you? going to S El Monte for a small tub of burrata seems a chore unless you can also squeeze in a bowl of bowl at Huynh.

sinosoul.com said...

Eeerr. I meant bowl of "pho", not bowl of "bowl".

amelia said...

sinosoul: thanks for the tip! and a bowl of pho sounds oddly good on this hot day.