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Have you had Burrata?

August 6, 2009

A few years ago I was introduced to Burrata and I haven’t been the same since.

Claudio Urciuoli of Prado at the MonteLucia InterContinental Hotel served us his version of the Caprese salad using Burrata instead of regular mozzarella years ago and I obsessed about it for days. Bob finally called Claudio on my behalf to inquire more about it. Since then we serve Burrata for special occasions in our home or use it to make ordinary occasions into something special.

Burrata is a hand-pulled mozzarella that comes filled with a ricotta-like cream. The outside of the Burrata is a thin layer of mozzarella curd that gives way to a soft, rich center. It is silky and slightly sweet and about as far from your normal pizza topping mozzarella as you can get. It comes in a large ball, packed in salty water and is quickly perishable once opened, so be prepared to enjoy it immediately. Since that first magical introduction, I have seen Burrata show up on a number of menus around town and I order it every time.

The best version I have had is from the Gioia Cheese Co. out of Los Angeles. This is the version that Claudio served. It is expensive and hard to find but worth the effort. The A.J.’s at 44th Street and Camelback is the only place I have found it. Trader Joe’s recently started carrying their own version of Burrata, which is good and much more reasonably priced, but not quite as flavorful.

I have used Burrata many different ways, but Claudio had it right that first time, it is hard to beat when served with a few ripe heirloom tomatoes, some fresh basil and a little olive oil and salt. I am still obsessed, but I have learned that Burrata is best when shared.
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