A Trio of Burrata Salads: Traditional Tomato, Sweet Fig and Pickled Peaches

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From left to right, traditional tomato & burrata, fig & hazelnut burrata, and picked peach burrata

Burrata Burrata Burrata! Another delicious food I “can’t” eat on a paleo food plan, but I do it anyway. Because (a) a small bite of anything won’t kill me and (b) I have exactly zero self restraint. I have found out a few things about burrata. First, burrata is actually mozzarella cheese, not a whole different cheese in itself. It is a solid mozzarella on the outside that encases shredded mozzarella mixed with cream. Hello, YUM. Secondly, it’s more common than you think. Even if you live out in the middle of the desert in Washington (my mom does), you can find it at Yoke’s Fresh Market. Third, it is like Lay’s Potato Chips or little black dresses – you can’t have just one. Fourth, you can use it about a zillion ways. I counted. But I settled on showing you three.

Today’s post is three separate burrata salads that I served as an appetizer. I experimented with using different sections of the burrata (outer later, middle cream section, or both), different mixin’s from traditional to way out there (pickled peaches!), and varying salts from my favorite Portland salt shops. All three are relatively easy and are serious crowd pleasers, so let’s get to cooking, shall we?

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Trio of Burrata Salads: Traditional Tomato, Sweet Fig, and Pickled Peaches

These three burrata salads are sure to be crowd pleasers, inviting everyone to enjoy tasty bites of fresh tomatoes, honeyed figs or sweet & sour pickled peaches.

Before we start, a few things:

Burrata comes either in a plastic container filled with water & the burrata ball (like mozzarella) or wrapped in a specialty waxy/plastic paper. The easiest way to handle burrata is to take it out of the vehicle it comes in and place in a small bowl. Once you cut into the ball, the creamy mozzarella & cream inside will go everywhere, so it’s best contained somewhere it’s free to go crazy.

Since there are few ingredients, use the freshest and the ripest. I harp on this constantly because it’s true. If you use old, mealy tomatoes or under-ripe peaches, the salads just aren’t worth it!

I’ve included below three separate recipes, ordered from easiest to “most difficult”, and by “most difficult” I mean there are one to two extra steps.

And finally, I’ve included the salts I used on each, all from specialty shops in the Portland area. Of course you can use your own favorite salts, but I have a thing about specialty salt (I own 19 of them currently) and giving props to the amazing shops that sell great ingredients.

Traditional Tomato Burrata Salad

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Tomato Burrata salad with Jacobson’s Pinot Blanc Flake Salt

Ingredients:
3 -4 heirloom tomatoes, in multiple colors
Fresh basil
Burrata
Olive oil
Jacobson’s pinot blanc flake salt

Wash and dry tomatoes and basil. Slice tomatoes and use smaller leaves of basil. Arrange pretty on a plate. Cut off small slices of burrata, using primarily the outer layer of the burrata. Place on salad and finish with olive oil & Jacobson’s pinot blanc flake salt.

Honeyed Fig, Hazelnut and Burrata Salad

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Honeyed Fig, Hazelnut & Burrata Salad (roasted version) with Portland Homestead Pink Himalayan Salt.

Ingredients:
4 Mission Figs
Balsamic vinegar & olive oil (if roasting, see notes below)
Burrata
Hazelnuts, chopped
Honey or Agave
Portland Homestead Pink Himalayan Salt

For this recipe, you can either bake the figs with olive oil & balsamic vinegar or leave them fresh. I prefer the fresh version, however the roasted version can provide the heat element to your trio of salads. The recipe below is the roasted version, but just skip the roasty parts if you’d like it fresh.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash & dry figs, cut off the stems, and cut in half. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinegar & olive oil. Place on a small pan that’s been covered with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 mn until you can smell the roasty figs, but do not overcook as they will turn to smooshy figs.

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Perfectly roasted figs

Arrange figs pretty on a plate. Cut off small slices of burrata, making sure to include both the outer and inner layers of the burrata. Place on figs and finish with hazelnuts, honey or agave and Portland Homestead Pink Himalayan Salt.

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Honeyed Figs, Hazelnuts & Burrata Salad (fresh version)

Pickled Peach, Micro Greens and Burrata Salad

Pickled Peach, Micro Green, and Burrata salad with Zupan Murray River Salt

Pickled Peach, Micro Green, and Burrata salad with Zupan Murray River Salt

Ingredients:
1 incredibly ripe peach
1/4c champagne vinegar
1/4c apple cider vinegar
1/4c sugar
1/4c water
2 tbs allspice
Burrata
Micro Greens, stems removed (I used a micro green salad mix of baby spinach & arugula)
Olive Oil
Zupan Market’s Murray River Salt

Wash and dry peach and micro greens. Then, make the pickling sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add vinegars, sugar, water and allspice. Heat until sugar dissolves and set in fridge to cool. Peel the peach. The easiest way to peel is to place a peach in boiling water for about 2 minutes, run under cool water, and the skin will come off easily. Thanks, mom, for teaching me this since you canned about a thousand points of peaches in your life. Slice peach and let pickle in the pickling sauce for about 10 minutes. Do NOT over-pickle. Vinegar is a tenderizer and will turn your peaches to smoosh if you leave for more than 30 minutes.

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“I don’t like to be pickled tooooo much” – Peaches

Drain peaches and arrange pretty on a plate. Cut into the burrata and pull out the creamy insides of the burrata. Drizzle over peaches. Finish with micro greens, olive oil and Zupan’s Murray River Salt.

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Pickled Peach, Micro Greens and Burrata Salad with Zupan’s Murray River Salt

And there you have it…three perfectly balanced and delicious burrata salads. Now go forth and impress your friends with these three easy and yummy salads and good luck – remember, you can’t have just one!

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Roasted Tomato, Toma-toh Soup with Basil Olive Oil

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Roasted heirloom tomato soup with basil olive oil, avocado, greek yogurt

You say tomato, I say “IT’S TOMA-TOH SEASON!” Our farmer’s markets are being invaded by these delicious gems of all varieties – the best of which being the heirlooms. Heirloom tomatoes, according to my dad and Wikipedia, are non-hybrid tomatoes, meaning they haven’t been genetically altered to withstand weather, transportation, insects, and Papa John’s pizza sauce makers. Not that I have anything against genetically mutated tomatoes – they’re the only ones you can find when you’re craving a tomato salad in January – but the O.G. heirlooms, though much more delicate, are riper, fresher, and have a ton more flavor. Buy them fresh and eat them quickly because they will spoil quickly (side-affects of not being a hybrid).

The season for heirlooms are the peak of summer time, which coincides with San Francisco’s foggiest, coldest weather. So for this reason I picked up some heirlooms at the Fort Mason Farmer’s Market and made what any rational San Franciscan would make in August: hot, roasted tomato soup.

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Local heirloom tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market and basil from my fire escape garden

Roasted Tomato, Tomat-oh Soup with Basil Olive Oil

Since tomatoes are the key ingredient in this recipe, make sure you buy the best you can find. I recommend heirloom tomatoes in all different varieties from local farmers for a rich, ripe tomato soup. The soup is made a touch spicy with a thai pepper and topped with avocado, basil olive oil and greek yogurt. It’s fresh, fast, and oh-so-tasty. Say tomato, tomato-oh and let’s get roasting!

Note 1: The basil olive oil for this recipe can be kept for about a month and used in multiple ways: drizzle on grilled bread, in scrambled eggs, finishing sauce for grilled fish, and over fresh greens. 

Note 2:The recipe can be made vegetarian by subbing chicken stock with vegetable stock. 

Ingredients
A big handful of basil (this is a scientific measurement, I swear)
1/2c olive oil (for basil olive oil)
2 pounds heirloom tomatos
2 cloves garlic, skins removed
1 thai chille pepper
1 small shallot, cut in 4
olive oil for roasting
salt & pepper
smaller handful of basil
1/2c chicken or vegetable stock
For topping: greek yogurt and avocado chunks
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Set the oven to 400 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half, removing any imperfections and stems. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle tomatoes, garlic, thai chili and shallot with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt & pepper and roast in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Note that your oven will likely smoke a bit using olive oil as olive oil has a low smoking point. We could solve your oven’s smoking problem by using a higher smoking point oil like vegetable or grape seed, but the taste of olive oil is super important in this recipe. Instead of solving the smoking problem, open your oven a few times during the process and open a window or back door. 

And now for some photos of some roasting tomatoes…

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Tomatoes pre-roasting

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We’re roasted!

Since we’re super efficient human beings, we’re going to make some basil olive oil while those tomatoes are roasting. It’s simple. Put olive oil in food processor, add a large handful of basil (equates to about 1/2c), puree and then add S&P to taste. Whee.

Basil Olive Oil in the making

Basil Olive Oil in the making

Set the basil olive oil aside, but don’t wash the food processor because (a) all those ingredients are in the soup anyway and (b) too lazy. Place all of the roasted things (tomatoes, garlic, shallot, thai chili pepper) in the food processor. Add the smaller handful of basil and chicken stock. Puree until you have your desired consistency.

Everyone ready for pureeing?

Everyone ready for pureeing?

This soup can be served cold or heated gently on the stove-top. I prefer warm as the slightly spicy soup is “cooled” by the  delicious toppings. So top the soup with avocado, drizzled olive oil and greek yogurt, and say tomato-yummo!

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