Mozzarella, 1/2 kg ( 1 lb ) Good quality buffalo
Limes or Lemons, 2 zest and juice
Hot Peppers, 1 seeded, cut in fine stripes
Cream, 1 Cup Double or regular
Materials and Methods
The Fake Burrata
True burrata is a very soft and creamy cheese encased on a solid spherical shell of mozzarella.
Also bona fide burrata is kind of hard to find in Brazil. I did find it a couple of times but it is not a constant thing.
On the other hand, making burrata is as complicated as making mozzarella. You make mozzarella then instead of rolling it into a ball you make a pouch and add cream and scrap mozarella inside then close it.
I do not shy upon the task, but if I want a steady supply of burrata I need an alternative.
This is what I came with: A deep spiced mozzarella in a curded cream1. Spiced but not “in your face spiced”, the limes and red pepper bring new flavors to the fake burrata, but does not hide the true mozzarella and cream flavor.
I use a good mozzarella for this dish but not a great one. Normally in stick or in braid shape. I tried to cut the cheese in various ways from large slabs to process it. In the end the small slices gives the better balance between taste and texture.
I usually do this dish directly in the serving vessel. So all the chopped mozzarella goes into it.
Dual role of limes
The main role of the limes is to curd the cream. That old acid + milk = cheese routine, the catch is that I want the cream to curd around the slices of mozzarella.
So add the juice of the limes to the bowl and toss the slices until they are all coated with lime juice.
Adding extra lime zest helps it with the second role: Flavor. Zest smells more limeish then lime juice. This is a very fragrant dish.
Pet Peeve time
Here’s one of mine when I was trying to learn how to cook: lack of a big book of culinary methods3.
Julienne, sauté, blanch, cream.. and so on.. Detailed instructions goes a long way. On the other hand its easy to overdo it!
I never talked about seeding peppers. Here is a crash course on it:
If you are uncertain of the hotness of your peppers: use gloves.
Cut the stalk off.
Slice it in half.
Scrape with your knife from the tip to the end. Remove both the seeds and the white membrane.
Now just cut thin slices either across or in a bias.
Add the cream and the pepper strips to the mozzarella slices.
Here is the semi optional step. Waiting 10 minutes while the juice turns the cream into a curd is enough to serve it.
But if you cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight develops the flavor to a new level.
To the food porn gallery:
A dollop on top or use as a dressing and toss the salad with it.. both ways will be amazing.
It really shines here. Toast a baguette and serve with it on a side.
1Not to be confused with “clotted cream” which is another beast all together.
2I am in footnote mode lately.
3Today also known as the internets.
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