There's something about Burrata. This variation of mozzarella cheese with its slightly elastic skin breaking open to reveal soft curds and cream. The flavor is soft, sweet, slightly earthy, with a gentle tang that lingers on the palate. There's no other cheese like it.
That tang brings to mind buttermilk. It just so happens that we have discovered an excellent source of buttermilk at the green market. It is Hawthorne Valley Farm. We have been buying it by the quart and using it for a variety of different preparations. Last week Alex became obsessed with the idea of creating buttermilk burrata.
Actually he started by making a buttermilk curd with buttermilk, half and half, agave, egg yolks, agar agar and locust bean gum. Once he had the flavored curd, the idea of the buttermilk burrata took hold and the hard part began. He had to figure out how to recreate the texture and shape of burrata using the ingredients at hand. At an impasse in the process he sent out an email to Wylie asking for his thoughts. Wylie responded with his technique for forming curds by creating a gel, making some of it into a fluid gel and chopping up the rest, and then combining them to create a texture that resembles fresh ricotta. Alex ran with that idea and took his base and divided it into thirds. He followed Wylie's technique with the first two thirds to create the filling for the burrata. He then filled sphere molds with the curds and froze them. Then he melted down the remaining third of the base and dipped the frozen spheres in the hot gel to form an outer skin. Once the spheres were coated he let them defrost in the refrigerator and the burrata were ready to go.
I have to say that I was pretty impressed with the results. His buttermilk burrata is soft and creamy with a delicate tang. Paired with baby tomatoes, Tri-Star strawberries, bush basil, chocolate mint and nasturtium leaves it made for a beautiful and delicious summer salad.