Ahhh ... burrata.
At a recent cooking demonstration, I was asked where one can buy burrata cheese.
It’s the king of rich and creamy cheese. If you’ve never tried burrata (boor-RAH-ta), think of it as fresh mozzarella’s smoother cousin. It’s fresh mozzarella stuffed with mozzarella curds and cream. But burrata’s exterior is softer than fresh mozzarella. You’ve got to love that.
Food experts say burrata hails from the Italian region of Puglia and was made as a way to use up scraps of mozzarella cheese. Its name is said to be derived from burro, meaning butter in Italian, which is fitting for its indulgent taste.
True burrata is worth the cost.
You can find burrata at specialty cheese shops, but there’s always BelGioioso, a domestic brand of burrata found at most grocery stores and some specialty cheese shops. An 8-ounce container has two 4-ounce balls of burrata and costs about $5.15.
Highly perishable, burrata should be used within several days of opening. Zingerman’s says its burrata has a 5-day shelf life.
Since you forked over good money for burrata, it should be the highlight of whatever dish you are making. Don’t let other flavors overpower it. Balance is key.
An example of a great dish that features burrata is caprese salad. Free Press columnist Chef Benjamin Meyer prepared this salad to rave reviews last month at Michigan’s International Women’s Show. The summertime dish consists of fresh mozzarella or burrata, sliced tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. It’s drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.
Burrata also works well with pasta, paired with grilled vegetables or atop crostini (little toasts).
One of my favorite uses, though, is topping pizza with it. Today’s recipe pairs sweet burrata and caramelized onions with pieces of salty prosciutto and basil.
You can make your own pizza dough or use store-bought.
Pizza with Burrata Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Prosciutto
Makes: 2 pizzas (about 8 wedges each)/Preparation time: 30 minutes (plus dough rising time)/Total time: 1 hour
1 pound pizza dough, follow rising instructions
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 to 5 cups sliced onions
3 cloves roasted garlic, sliced
4 to 6 thin slices prosciutto, torn into pieces or in strips
8 ounces or more fresh burrata cheese
Balsamic glaze, optional
Extra flour for dusting your work surface
1 teaspoon cornmeal
Once the dough has come to room temperature, divide it in two. Shape each half into a ball and let them rise until almost double in size.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the onion slices and cook until they are golden brown and caramelized. The onions will reduce to more than half of the original volume.
When ready to prepare everything, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. If using, place a pizza stone in the oven while the oven preheats for at least 30 minutes.
Once the dough has doubled, roll each ball out to a 8- to 10-inch shape. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Let the dough relax for a few minutes, and reshape again if necessary.
Transfer the pizza dough to a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal or flour if you have one. If you don’t have a peel, use a large upside-down baking sheet. This helps transfer the unbaked and baked pizza to the stone.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil onto the dough and spread it all over the surface. Scatter half of the caramelized onions and roasted garlic on top. Top with the prosciutto pieces.
Take the burrata and break it up into small pieces. Drop pieces randomly over the prosciutto and other ingredients, but don’t overcrowd the pizza.
Carefully transfer the prepared pizza to the stone and place in the oven. Prepare the other pizza while the first one bakes.
Bake pizzas for about 7-10 minutes or until the cheese melts some and bubbles and the prosciutto is slightly crispy. Remove from oven using the pizza peel and cool a few minutes. Place the other pizza in the oven.
Drizzle the pizza with some balsamic glaze and slice into wedges. Serve immediately.
From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Analysis per 1 wedge
Nutrition information per serving: 192 calories (47% from fat), 10 grams fat (4 grams sat. fat), 15 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein, 216 mg sodium, 23 mg cholesterol, 1 gram fiber.
©2014 Detroit Free Press
Visit the Detroit Free Press at www.freep.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
PHOTO (from MCT Photo Service, 202-383-6099):