Buffalo mozzarella and burrata are two of our favorite Italian cheeses, and when we are in Umbria six months each year, we enjoy them often. Over the past year or two, these two cheeses are now being imported into the US, and there are also artisanal cheese companies that are actually now making these cheeses locally too. Though I cannot say that Florida burrata is as amazing as one created in Puglia or Campania, it is a decent compromise! I recently came across burrata at our local Whole Foods market, had an immediate craving, and just had to buy it. Burrata is a fresh cow’s milk cheese that is quite soft and very creamy. The cheese originated in Puglia although it can now be found across Italy. Inside a covering of fresh mozzarella sits a creamy center made of whey and cream so that when you cut into the cheese, the creamy center actually oozes out. Typically in Italy it can be identified by the knot at the top that is tied off.
I decided to use my burrata for lunch served over toasted bread and drizzled with olive oil seasoned with anchovies, sage, and lemon. This dish would also be great as an appetizer and can be assembled very quickly. Do not be put off if you are not a huge fan of anchovies. I personally do not care for them myself, so used anchovy paste instead of the actual anchovies for this recipe and it really does add a vibrancy to this dish that isn’t at all “fishy”.
Like all simple dishes, you need to use the right ingredients for this dish to work. Choose a crusty Italian bread from a good bakery, not a grocery store variety. Although I used burrata, I realize that it may be a difficult cheese for many to find. Fresh mozzarella, buffalo mozzarella in particular, can also be used in place of the burrata. We have our own extra virgin olive oil that we harvested this past November, but any top quality extra virgin oil will work in this recipe. The sage should be fresh, not dried, but if it is difficult to find, you could use fresh parsley or basil instead.
Deborah Mele 2014
Buratta Cheese On Toasted Bread With Anchovy & Lemon Dressing
- 6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 12 Small Fresh Sage Leaves
- 2 Teaspoons Anchovy Paste
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Zest
- 1 Tablespoon White Balsamic Vinegar
- 4 Slices Lightly Toasted Crusty Italian Bread
- Freshly Ground Cracked Black Pepper
- Coarsely Ground Sea Salt
- 1/2 to 3/4 Pound Fresh Buratta, or Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
- Pitted Kalamata Olives
- In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until piping hot, then add the sage, anchovy paste, and lemon zest.
- Cook for a minute, whisking the mixture with a fork.
- Remove from the heat and add the vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
- Cut or tear the cheese into four equal pieces.
- Place the toasted bread slices on four individual plates, then arrange the cheese on top.
- Spoon the mixture equally over the cheese and bread.
- Add a few olives to each plate, then serve immediately.
Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 52