Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Burrata with Morels

                                                                      (No. It's burrata...)

With the opening of our local farmer’s market, spring has truly arrived. While it’s early in our growing season, there’s asparagus, plenty of greens, rhubarb, and the long awaited strawberries (fantastic so far this year) and wild mushrooms.
I paired sautéed morels with lightly warmed burrata cheese. Before you think this is a recipe for something you cannot get, remember that this is a template and you can use any mushrooms. The earthy flavor of the warm mushrooms paired with the lushness of burrata make for a great first course (or small plate, in restaurant speak).
Burrata is the mad genius-fever dream of some cheese maker who thought (and I translate freely from Italian), “How can I make mozzarella even better? I know. I’ll fill it with leftover scraps of mozzarella and some cream.” Genius. But more to the point it was no doubt a case of not wanting to waste anything which is so often the inspiration behind great food and cooking.
Burrata is easier to find nowadays thanks in part to the explosion in our love for all things lactic and the ever- expanding cheese selections in stores. The brand I found had two burrata per container and that meant two servings over two different days making it a little less expensive.
My apologies to the lactose intolerant (sorry, sweetie) but this is delicious. And easy.

Burrata with Morels
1 ball burrata cheese
4 ounces morels (or any other mushroom)
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and ground black pepper
Baguette slices, brushed with olive oil and toasted
1. Heat oven to 250 degrees. Place the burrata into an oven-proof shallow dish and cut the burrata in the middle so the burrata opens. Season the burrata lightly with salt. Set aside.
2. Trim the bottoms off the mushrooms. Rinse them under cold water and slice the mushrooms in half lengthwise, depending on their size (this, of course, will vary depending on the mushrooms you use).
Place a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the butter and olive oil. After the butter has melted, add the shallots and sauté for a minute or two until the shallots have softened. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms to the pan, season with some salt and ground black pepper and cook the mushrooms until they are tender, about 5 minutes.
3. While the mushrooms are cooking, place the burrata into the oven to warm for a few minutes; watch so that the burrata doesn’t collapse (if it does, it will still be alright).
4. To serve, remove the burrata from the oven and spoon the cooked mushrooms and their liquid over the cheese. Add a little extra olive oil to the pan to rinse out any remaining shallots or garlic and pour this over the cheese; season with some additional ground black pepper. Serve the burrata/ mushroom mixture with the toasted baguette slices along with a knife and spoon. Make sure that nothing is left behind before calling it quits. Fondue never had it this good.

If you know me at all, there was no choice but to resort to the “Day the Earth Stood Still.” 

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