7 May 2015

My Vote is for Marinated Burrata with Basil for Perfect Picnic Fare and Other Burrata Recipes

Marinated Burrata with basil
Sometimes you come across a recipe that changes your way of thinking. On a wanderlust day in the Okanagan this marinated burrata made its way into my kitchen and into my heart forever. As a result picnics here at More Than Burnt Toast will never be the same again. Simple, rustic, and so transportable. I will be taking this Italian-themed antipasto on EVERY picnic from now on. It comes together in a flash which makes it perfect for an impromptu Italian-inspired picnic under the shade of a blossoming apple tree.

What makes this antipasto a star? Burrata from my beloved Puglia!!! You could use buffalo mozzarella but it would simply just not be the same. However it would work in a pinch. If you're a lover of mozzarella, ricotta, or really anything that's straight-up creamy, this cheese antipasto is what you need…

If you've never had the privilege of trying burrata, or have never heard of it, allow me to explain. Burrata means "buttered" in Italian. It's that satisfying and rich. What it really is though is fresh cheese blessed by the gods! It is a spiritual experience from start to finish. Burrata was first made about 100 years ago on the Bianchini farm in Murgia, an area in the Puglia region in southern Italy, and is now a staple of the area. In the 1950's, cheese makers began preparing it by using ritagli ("scraps" or "legs") the way a butcher might save scraps for the production of head cheese.

At first glance, burrata resembles a ball of mozzarella and indeed that is how it starts. Milky curds are dipped into hot water, and kneaded into a familiar springy ball of fresh mozzarella. But then, mozzarella curd ritagli or scraps are stuffed into the thin shell or pasta filata curd made of buffalo and/or cow's milk mozzarella while the insides contain a soft, stringy, mixture of curd that is topped with fresh cream. In the Italian way of "waste not want not" burrata was created in order to rescue those little scraps of mozzarella that were leftover in the cheesemaking vat. The whole package is sealed up by twisting the mozzarella together in a little knot, and this miracle of a cheese is sent on its way.

When you cut open a burrata at home it oozes a creamy panna or interior as mentioned above that spills out, revealing soft, stringy curd and fresh cream. The cream has a rich flavour and if at all possible should be eaten immediately since it is a fresh cheese. Since we do not live in Puglia your burrata may be a little bit older but the incredible flavour and texture is still there. The thin sheath of mozzarella (the closest thing that burrata has to a rind) would normally be incredibly supple and yielding, just thick enough to prevent the cream-filled middle from spilling out. 

What you're really looking for in the end, has nothing to do with that exterior, really. It's all about what lies within. Thick, spreadable strings of cream, with a slightly sour finish that elevates this cheese above what would now be considered simple buffalo mozzarella and is perfect for spreading on toasts.  The taste of burrata goes well with salads, crusty bread, and prosciutto, fresh tomatoes with olive oil and spaghetti. Burrata is usually served fresh at room temperature for best flavour.

My new picnic staple is not only delicious but did I also say it was easily packable for an impromptu picnic. To me this is what makes this perfect picnic fare. Use the ripest, juiciest and sweetest tomatoes you can find. Dice them so that they are more easily scoopable. This time of year we find some pretty sweet and delicious Campari tomatoes from our local greenhouses that bring that taste of summer to our picnic. Imagine how incredible this would be with sun-kissed heirloom tomatoes from your garden!!

I served this as an appetizer or antipasto for an Italian-inspired picnic with lightly oven-toasted pieces of baguette that were thinly sliced. If your burrata has been marinating for at least a 1/2 hour you can brush some of the garlic-infused oil from the marinade onto each toasted slice as you take it from the oven, or alternatively, once the bread slices are removed from the oven brush them lightly with extra-virgin olive oil and rub each slice VERY lightly with a peeled clove of garlic. This is the best option if you have thrown this together and the burrata will marinate enroute.

**Marinated Burrata with Basil**
From the More Than Burnt Toast Kitchen

250 g Burrata or Buffalo Mozzarella cheese
2 ripe medium tomatoes (red, yellow or mixed), sliced in quarters or large dice
15 basil leaves, shredded (chiffonade)
1 baguette, sliced thinly and lightly oven toasted


grated zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoon chopped oregano or thyme
2 teaspoon best quality extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to finish
2 teaspoon grape seed oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Optional: 1/4 cup extra olive oil (if you are using the marinade the brush your baguette slices)

For the marinade: In a small bowl add the lemon zest, chopped oregano or thyme, extra virgin olive oil, grape seed oil, garlic, sea salt, and black pepper. 

Place your burrata in a small container with a lid large enough to hold it. Pour on the marinade and set aside for 15-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place thinly sliced baguette  slices on baking sheet. Toast bread in oven until crisp and lightly golden around the edges, about 5 - 10 minutes. Remove from oven. At this point you have two choices depending on whether your burrata has been marinating for at least half an hour or whether you are allowing it to marinate enroute to your picnic. Brush with garlic infused marinade from the marinated burrata if it has been sitting for at least 30 minutes.  Alternatively, if this is an impromptu picnic and you are allowing the burrata to marinate enroute brush your toasted baguette slices with extra virgin olive olive and rub VERY lightly with a peeled clove of garlic. 

To serve, surround marinated burrata with fresh tomatoes and plate. Drizzle with extra olive oil if desired and sprinkle with the fresh basil. Serve with toasted baguette slices.

Serves 4 as a starter

Other Burrata Recipes…

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata
Toasted Bread with Basil and Burrata
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Burrata
Liberated Lasagna with Arugula-Basil Pesto and Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

Baked Burrata
From the Web...

Get the Burrata with White Wine and Garlic Sautéed Tomatoes recipe from In Sock Monkey Slippers
Get the Fig and Burrata Pizza recipe from Apron and Sneakers
Get the Lemon and Olive Oil Marinated Fennel With Burrata and Mint recipe from Food52

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. There's seriously not much better than burrata! This is making me drool at 7:30 a.m.! :)


  2. I am a big fan of burrata (it is even made here in Geneva), but I have never marinated this cheese. Definitely something I'll have to try during the summertime.



  3. AnonymousMay 08, 2015

    I don't think I've ever tried burrata cheese but reading your description makes me want to run out to the nearest deli to pick some up.

  4. I've never had burrata, but it's been on my list to try for the longest time. Now, I'm scoping out where to buy some. This looks so simple, colorful and flavorful. Thanks for the inspiration and info, Val.

  5. Thanks for explaining the "history" of burrata, I did not know it was first made about 100 years. Now I feel like having this extra delicious and creamy "latticino" (fresh milk cheese in Italian ), too bad nobody sells it in my city :(

  6. Basil marinated burrata sounds so good!


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