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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Squash Blossoms and Happy Boy Farms

Zucchini Salad and Fried Squash Blossoms

Zucchini Salad and Fried Squash Blossoms

Squash Blossoms and Happy Boy Farms

I look forward to Sundays. And not in the sleep in, relax, have a cup of coffee and do nothing kind of Sunday. I can’t even sleep in on Sunday. Why? Because I. Am. So. Excited. Sunday is Farmer’s market day at Fort Mason in San Francisco. My Sunday routine is flawlessly the same every week. Wake up. Eat eggs. Consider going for run. Don’t go for run. Walk to market. Walk around entire market and sample. Walk around entire market again to check prices, re-think about recipes and look for inspiration. Sample. Walk around one final, third time to actually buy items. And sample. Harass my favorite farmer for forgetting the tatsoi on his truck.  Walk home, curse the three flights I have to walk up because I just HAD to live on the top floor. FInally, lay out all my goods to use that as inspiration for my next post, which brings me to squash blossoms and Happy Boy Farms. 

Happy Boy Farms is a family run, organic farm in Watsonville, California (wherever that is). The darling girls who work each week at the market bring us city folk fresh, lovely, seasonal produce that is unique and ever changing from week to week. This week’s inspiration came from squash blossoms and edible flowers that they sold this week along with zucchini, radishes, and golden beets. So thank you, Happy Boy Farms, for having the same flawless Sunday routine of bringing me fantastic produce from Lordknowswhere, California so that I might lug it up to my 3rd floor apartment and fry up some squash blossoms. 

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Produce from Happy Boy Farms (and some mushrooms I bought at Safeway, shhhh)

Squash blossoms and edible flowers from Happy Boy Farmers

Squash blossoms and edible flowers from Happy Boy Farmers

Fried Squash Blossoms and Shaved Zucchini Salad Recipe

For this recipe, you’ll need a mandolin slicer. And if you don’t have a mandolin slicer, you’ll need a vegetable peeler. You’ll also need a nice 1/2 bottle of inexpensive oil (vegetable or canola), a deep pan for frying, and all your fingers so you can afford to lose one or two between the slicing and the frying. 

For the Zucchini Salad
2 small zucchini
Small bunch radishes
2 small beets
5 stalks asparagus
Mixed Green Salad
Salt & Pepper
Goat Cheese (optional)
1/4c Hazelnuts (optional), sliced

Toast hazelnuts in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until fragrant. WATCH CAREFULLY as these suckers will burn. Once you smell them, take them out immediately. Set aside. Slice zucchini, radishes, beets, and asparagus (leave tops whole for the salad) and place in a ice bath. The ice bath keeps veggies fresh and makes the zucchini curl up and look purdy.

Placing the zucchini in an ice bath will cause the veggie to curl up and keep fresh

Placing the zucchini in an ice bath will cause the veggie to curl up and keep fresh

Add radishes and beets to keep fresh and give the zucchini some friends

Add radishes and beets to keep fresh and give the zucchini some friends

Set everything aside for final preparation, below.

For the salad Dressing
1/4c olive oil
1 tbs champagne vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste

Whisk everything together rapidly. If you’re obsessive about emulsifying (process of separating the oils with all the vinegars), do this in a mini blender.

For the Squash Blossoms
4 large squash blossom flowers
1 4oz container of goat cheese, room temperature or slightly softened in microwave
Basil
Parsley
Chives
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup seltzer water
2 tbs flour
2-3 cups vegetable or canola oil

Before I start, note that the basil/parsley/chives mix is not because of some magical genius mix of herbs. It’s just what I have growing out on my fire escape. Really, you can use most fresh herbs – tarragon, sage, thyme and oregano would all be fantastic. There are also plenty of recipes online for super fancy fried squash blossoms with roasted tomatoes, different cheeses, small bits of gold, etc, but I like my squash blossoms nice and simple. On to the recipe…

Mince herbs and mix in with goat cheese. Add S&P to taste. Stuff squash blossoms with goat cheese mixture, but do not over-stuff. These squash blossoms should look like they ate too many chips before their enchilada at the Mexican food restaurant. NOT like they were trying to get their money’s worth with fried chicken, potato rolls, mashed potatoes & gravy and the ice cream sundae bar at Old Country Buffet.

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Simple fried squash blossom ingredients

Stuffed, not over-stuffed blossoms

Stuffed, not over-stuffed blossoms

In a medium bowl, mix seltzer water with flour and a pinch of S&P.

Heat oil in a fryer or deep saucepan over high medium high heat (meaning just below medium high, but not quite high). There should be about an inch of oil in the pan. Note, in the photos below I have TOO MUCH OIL in the pan. This caused splatter and a small, 1/2 second fire on my stove so don’t do that. Less oil, no fire. Ok?

The oil is hot enough when you drop in a tiny bit of the flour/seltzer mix and it sizzles.

Using thongs (for finger protection), dip each stuffed squash blossom in the setlzer-flour mixture, shake off excess, and GENTLY drop into oil. Let sizzle, turning gently using thongs, until browned. Set aside on a separate plate. Do each blossom separately so that the oil can re-heat after each one.

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Assemble the salad

Dress the mixed greens with 1/2 the salad dressing.  Drain remaining veggies, pat dry, and dress with remaining salad dressing. Top with goat cheese, hazelnuts, and squash blossoms. Enjoy immediately with a glass of wine and a silent cheers to all the farmers that bring us fantastic veggies to your home (wherever that may be).

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Special thanks to my lovely friend, Christina, who was patient and helpful enough to help me with all the photos. Including the ones where I asked her to wait 10 minutes after the food was cooked while I photographed on my (clean) floor.

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