If you want to end the summer with a bang and be reminded how the best and simplest ingredients produce the most magical results, then this is the dish to make before the leaves change and thoughts turn to stew.
Burrata is a semisoft, white Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. Imagine the softest, creamiest fresh mozzarella ever, but the inside is filled with buttery cream that runs out when you cut it open. It’s like the cheese version of a molten chocolate cake (a brownie-like cake with warm chocolate sauce in the middle).
Hopefully by now you’re ready to jump in the car and find yourself some burrata.
It’s available at cheese shops and well-stocked supermarkets; if you can’t find it, get fresh mozzarella instead, but don’t give up the search.
Roasting the cherry tomatoes caramelizes them and brings out even more natural sweetness. You don’t need to have them on the vine; this dish is also beautiful with an assortment of cherry tomatoes in different colors.
You can make the (nut-free) basil oil ahead of time and store it in a covered container in the fridge for up to three days.
Start to finish: 1 hour
Servings: 8 as an appetizer
1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, on the vine if desired
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 balls burrata (about 1/2 pound each), at room temperature
Crusty bread to serve
Preheat the oven to 300 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat it with nonstick cooking spray. Place the tomatoes on the baking sheet and toss them with 2 tablespoons olive oil (if they are on the vine, just drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil, and use your hands to make sure they are nicely coated). Season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, until they are wrinkly and slightly collapsed.
Meanwhile, make the basil oil: Place the basil, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a food processor, and pulse several times to roughly chop. With the motor running, add 1/2 cup of the olive oil through the top of the processor. When the oil is added, scrape down the sides of the food processor and process again.
Transfer the tomatoes to a serving platter along with any juices that they have released, and let cool to barely warm or room temperature. They will release some of their juices as they cool, which is not only OK but desirable. When ready to serve, cut each burrata in half and nestle the cheese among the tomatoes, making sure not to lose any of the creamy filling. You may want to add a bit more salt and pepper. Drizzle about half the basil oil over the tomatoes and cheese and serve with the crusty bread, and the rest of the basil oil on the side for extra drizzling.
Nutrition information per serving: 322 calories; 253 calories from fat; 28 g fat (10 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 40 mg cholesterol; 288 mg sodium; 4 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 11 g protein
Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.” She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman/