Monday, September 2, 2013

A Cheesy Love Affair--Burratta smothered with Cherry Tomatoes

This is the time of year when I eat tomatoes with cheese. A cheese by any name be it buffalo mozzerella, brie or burratta and the aforementioned fruit magically appears almost everyday at my table. My love for both knows no bounds!

I have grown tomatoes as long as I have lived in my house. In those beginning years I couldn't pick them fast enough. My friends called me their CSA, all of them benefiting from basketfuls of zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers. And then as years progressed I couldn't pick them fast enough as they didn't grow well at all. I fertilized, I double dug the patch, added specific tomato food with not much luck. And finally I gave up. A friend Keith, who has the greenest thumb I know, said the soil was depleted of nutrients, simply exhausted. So was I. Resigned to farmers market tomatoes, I suffered in a conflicted silence. But then as we know, farmers market tomatoes are really good. So I didn't really suffer much at all. Then came the mother of all storms. It washed away my patch, the soil, leaving a ground soaked with salt. Come spring some plants rebounded, some died, some just languished lazily. My old patch wasn't visible unless you looked for the terra cotta tile edging. We had the yard redone and my patch disappeared. Looking out on to the forlorn yard all thoughts of a summer  vegetable garden flew out the window. Even if I was foolish enought to think it, I wasn't brave enough to plant one.

And then one afternoon Keith, observing the yard commented that if I were to plant a tomatoes in a different area of the backyard I would get a bumper crop! From his mouth to my ears!!! Oh boy was I thrilled! But this comment was made in late May. Would I find tomatoes I wanted? I like Romas for their pulpy nature. I like Big Boys sliced in a Caprese salad. Cherry tomatoes taste the best roasted. I wondered and drove to the nursery with trepidation.  Much to my surprise they had all the varieties I needed.  Happily, I prepped the ground, planted, mulched and waited!  

Keith was right! I can see tomatoes tomatoes towering over the fence. The tall cages I use are no match for their exhuberant growth!  They are completely hidden. Big Boys flash bright red through green leaves. Romas, harvested into ziploc bags, head straight for the freezer. It's time to pick the small Cherry Reds. They cascade over their cages spilling on to the ground. I eat them as I pick them. Sugary sweet and juicy. A marriage made in heaven is tomatoes with burratta and basil and that could easily be my last meal on earth. 

Burratta Smothered with Cherry Tomatoes
Makes 2 generous portions

1 ball of Burratta Cheese
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin Olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Several grinds of Pepper
6 Basil leaves

Wash, dry and cut cherry tomatoes in half.

Add olive oil, salt and pepper to tomatoes and let them sit for 15 minutes.

Just before you are ready to serve, take the burratta out if it's water bath. 

Place on the plate it is to served in and cut into quarters.

Pour tomato mixture on top of burratta.

Scatter basil leaves and serve


Burratta is a soft mozzerella cheese whose center is filled with cream. There is no substitute. Fresh buffalo mozzerella is the closest cousin and could be used in place. But you will miss that creamy soft interior. So do try to find this exquisite cheese.

I cut into the burratta letting its creamy interior ooze out on to the plate. A drizzle of California olive oil lends the cheese a greenish tinge and a fresh taste. A forkful of cheese, some tomatoes and a basil leaf is a little bit of summer in my mouth. This delightfully simple combination is hands down my favorite! This could well be an everyday affair, one to always remember.