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Italian Tomato Burrata Salad (Caprese)

Tomato and burrata Caprese salad is one of the most delicious and refreshing dishes one could enjoy on a warm day (or any other day in the year), yet it’s rather quick and simple to make. The whole focus of this popular dish is not on the complexity of the preparation process, but on the carefully picked ingredients; notably, the heirloom tomatoes and the amazingly tasty Burrata cheese are the true essentials of every Burrata Caprese recipe.  

What Is a Burrata?

When looking into the burrata Caprese, you might wonder what’s a burrata actually. This is a cheese that’s very much like mozzarella. Both are semi delicate Italian cheeses, and the two appear to be indistinguishable at the first glance. The thing that matters is that burrata is mozzarella that has been shaped into a pocket and loaded up with delicate cheddar curds blended in with the cream. That way, when you cut into it, the filling spills out. Mozzarella is commonly used on dishes such as lasagna and pizza, while burrata is normally used in salads, on a plate of mixed greens, or served with bread.

If you’re thinking about how to make burrata, don’t worry; you can buy it already made, or simply exercise some patience and steady hand in shaping the regular mozzarella bits with cheddar.

Difference Between Heirloom Tomatoes and Regular Tomatoes

In order to make the perfect burrata Caprese salad, it’s not enough to seek out the burrata cheese; a great deal of attention should go to the tomatoes, as the heirloom ones are ideal for a burrata Caprese recipe.

Most people believe that these vivid tomatoes have been tampered with and created through genetic modification, but the truth is quite different. Heirlooms may as well be referred to as the OG tomato; this is how they used to be before the tomato business boomed and it was necessary to make the fruit sturdier to manage transportation.

Heirlooms are tomatoes developed from several generation seeds. They pollinate in the open air making them the most natural option available that has stood the test of time.

Since heirloom tomatoes are grown with high quality and great taste in mind, with no concern for shelf life per se, they are also costlier compared to the traditional tomato we typically see in our local stores and markets. As such, heirloom tomatoes are also very rich in flavor.

It’s possible to find actual heirloom tomatoes at local supermarkets but the best place to buy them for sure is a farmer’s market.

Thanks to their vivid and interesting color and their sweet taste, it’s a true joy to use heirloom tomatoes in cooking, since they require very little prep time and can also be eaten raw. In general, as soon as the tomato’s skin breaks, you can be certain that the processing time is over.

Obviously, there’s nothing quite like an heirloom tomato to spruce up the taste of any dish, including the burrata Caprese salad. Not only do they elevate the taste of burrata Caprese (and any other salad for that matter) but they also make the whole dish more aesthetically pleasing. The same goes for using these tomatoes on a toast or as a part of a sandwich. And thanks to their softer consistency, they’re a true delight to use as a base for soups.

Why Use Heirloom Tomatoes?

You can use a really ripe tomato (the one traditionally found in every store) to create your own burrata Caprese or any other dish. However, if you can get your hands on the heirloom kind, that would definitely take your dishes up a notch. So, if you can find these in your local store or market, pay attention to the following:

Since they’re so fragile and have rather thin skin, make sure that you’re not too rough while handling them. Also, they spoil quite easily, so make sure to use them for your meals as soon as possible.

The riper the tomato the closer it will be stocked in the supermarket to the customer. That said if you want to look for those that are stiffer and have to go through the existing stack to get to the bottom, be very careful as they can easily break.

However, the ideal tomato for the burrata salad is a very ripe one so if you decided to go for harder ones, make sure to leave them out for a while to ripen and soften. This is only recommended if you know you won’t be able to use them in the cooking immediately.

Heirloom Tomato Types

There are several types available when it comes to heirloom tomatoes.

Black Krim: A huge, dim purple/red tomato with olive-green ‘shoulders’ that is grown in Russia. When it’s cut it features an amazingly deep shade of red.

Brandywine: This is definitely the most common type of heirloom tomatoes that most people use today. It’s rather large, pink/red in color, with a profound ‘tomatoey’ note. It’s also the easiest type to cut.

Cherokee Purple: This one is another huge tomato that features a dusty rose shade. The type is known as a Cherokee Indian assortment.

Costoluto Genovese: Vividly red tomato with plenty of ruffly ribs; this type originated from Italy and works amazingly well both cooked and consumed raw.

Dona: This French type of heirloom tomato is the closest in look to your regular tomato but it still has a more intricate flavor to it.  

Baron of Edgecomb: A tomato type of English origin that features interesting gold and orange shades, making it really popular for elevating the look of a variety of dishes.

Green Zebra: The beautiful green stripes on this tomato are just adorable. They will, in general, be firmer than other heirlooms, and if they’re not aged enough, they might even be crunchy. That characteristic makes them ideal for cutting.  

Marvel Striped: A two-color tomato of Mexican origin that boats bright shades of red and orange.

Yellow Ruffle: This heirloom tomato type has a lovely lemon-yellow color. It’s often used for stuffing since its interior is relatively hollow.

Kumato: Spain-originated heirloom tomato type with a deep olive color; it’s firm and it has a nice dusty pink color on the inside.

Burrata Caprese Recipe

Burrata Caprese salad is delicious yet extremely easy and quick to prepare; everything can be done within 10 minutes, even if you have to check what’s a burrata and how to make burrata on your own. There are actually plenty of online guides on how to make burrata that are really simple to follow. The following ingredients will be enough for four servings.

You will need:

  • 3-4 heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 ball of burrata cheese (7oz)
  • fresh basil
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Dressing:

  • 4 tbsp of virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • a pinch of salt

Start by carefully placing the Burrata cheese in the very center of your bowl. Make sure you don’t break it as you want to leave the fillings for consumption. Cut the tomatoes into thick wedges and place them around the cheese. Follow by arranging the basil leaves. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and then pour over the cheese and tomatoes. Use black pepper for seasoning. Once you’re ready to serve, you can slice the cheese just a bit to allow its fillings to ooze a little.

If you’re looking to enjoy the finest Italian-focused cuisine with a modern mix of Northern and Southern style, don’t hesitate to pay us a visit at Mi’talia, your go-to neighborhood restaurant in Miami.

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