There are just some foods that never cease to inspire a sigh when set in front of you, and it’s a pretty safe bet to say that a fluffy, creamy, decadent-yet-impossibly-light blob of burrata sitting beside practically anything on your plate is one to encourage such a response. This soft cheese made from a combination of mozzarella and cream is typically found this time of year commingling with tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic for a twist on the traditional Caprese salad. And that’s for good reason: it’s delicious. Still, there’s a plethora of unique summer burrata pairings that are just as simple and satisfying, and they might just help you break out of your seasonal cooking rut.
One of the beautiful things about burrata is that it doesn’t need much. Wherever it’s found — dotted on pizza, plopped on pasta, torn into a summer salad — it’s always the star of the show. That said, its rich, buttery flavor shines brightest when balanced. Hence why pairing it with acidic tomato, herbaceous basil, and tart-sweet balsamic is such a go-to. And by no means does anyone need to shut themselves off to the pure pleasure of this quintessential summer combo, but if you’re looking to introduce your tastebuds to something a bit different (and dazzle your friends during your next summer dinner party), your next trip to the farmer’s market could be a source of major inspiration.
Burrata can be added to a variety of dishes, no matter the season. However, it’s worth mentioning there’s so much peak summer produce that just so happens to create killer combos with this sumptuous cheese. But if you’re not a culinary expert, you might not be exactly sure where to start. No worries, chefs love burrata as much as you do, and some of their current menu favorites are bound to give you ideas of how to get out of your Caprese box and try something new. To make things super easy, TZR tapped some of the best in the business to share the summer burrata pairings they can’t stop making this time of year. So read on, stock up, and channel your inner chef to whip up your own take on these delicious seasonal combinations.
Burrata & Braised Lettuce
Burrata with lettuce? This duo may not initially sound so exciting or out-of-the-box, but if you take a note from Zach Pollack, chef of Cosa Buona and Alimento in Los Angeles, it can be pretty darn delectable. At Alimento, Pollack serves burrata atop a crostini with braised lettuce, snap peas, and lemon zest, in a pool of parmesan brodo. If the idea of cooking your lettuce gives you pause, the chef says not to knock it until you’ve tried it.
“Americans aren't super familiar with the idea of cooked lettuce, but it's a staple in Italy,” he explains. “In this dish, we sear little gem hearts, then braise them with snap peas in a broth made from parmesan rinds until the lettuce is soft with a little texture at the core. We spoon it over grilled bread rubbed with garlic and top it with a hefty scoop of cool burrata. It's finished with lemon zest, a few cracks of pepper, and olive oil from Puglia.” This dish is definitely a higher level of difficulty than your usual tomato-basil-burrata combo, but it’s worth the extra effort.
Burrata & Cherries
Cherries are at their peak during summer, and Michael Correll, executive chef of Ruse, uses that to his advantage in his restaurant’s burrata dish, a salad with radicchio, toasted hazelnuts, and of course summer ripe cherries. “This dish is a perfect encapsulation of what I try to do with the menu at Ruse: Use peak season ingredients and deliver them in a way that is familiar and delicious,” he says. “The cherries are pitted and marinated in a syrup made of really good white balsamic and Maurine Quina (cherry liquor) and tossed with Castelfranco radicchio and toasted hazelnuts. The dish is finished with a vibrant green oil made from fig leaves which delivers a beautiful licorice flavor that ties everything together."
Sal Lamboglia, chef/owner of Cafe Spaghetti, also takes advantage of this stone fruit in one of his favorite burrata preparations, burrata cremosa with cherries, pistachios, and pesto. To make it, plate your burrata, sliced in half to expose its creamy interior. Serve with pitted cherries that have been marinated in red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, as well as garlicky pesto and toasted pistachios. “It’s super summery and simple enough for any home cook to whip up,” Lamboglia says.
Burrata, Corn, & Peppers
Corn and peppers are easy to find fresh at the farmer’s market this season, and they’re full of flavor. You could turn this combo into a simple salad, with the produce served raw, or you could step up your culinary game and take inspo from a dish at Cambridge’s Alden & Harlow. “We feature a local burrata daily that’s served on a pickled corn crumpet with a really nice pickled pepper relish and basil oil,” chef and restauranteur Michael Scelfo shares. “I love the way the warm and buttery crumpet soaks up all of the delicious flavors on this dish, while the corn and peppers make it scream summer.”
Burrata, Melon, & Prosciutto
For a dish that’s just as easy to prepare as a Caprese, try pairing your burrata simply with prosciutto and summer melon (like cantaloupe). “This refreshing starter will transport you to Southern Italy with high-quality,” says Chef Joey Maggiore of The Sicilian Butcher. For his version, he finishes off this salad with olive oil and saba, an Italian condiment that’s made from cooking down grape musts. If you don’t have that, a balsamic reduction will work just fine.
Chef Sydney Wilcox of Restaurant Associates also swears by this winning combo in the summer, but she creates a risotto version using arborio rice, dry white wine, vegetable stock, mascarpone, and parmesan. The melon is cooked into the risotto, and the burrata is added as a finishing touch on top, along with oven crisped prosciutto. Perfect for those summer nights when you want something a bit more satiating than salad.
Burrata & Radishes
“Radishes are one of the most under appreciated vegetables in the realm of home cooking,” says Chef Gemma Kamin-Korn of Bar Beau in Brooklyn. That’s why they play such an important role in the restaurant’s burrata dish. What makes it even more unique is the fact that these root veggies are served both cooked and raw. To try it, start by searing radishes in a skillet with salt, pepper and oil, and then tossing them in clover honey and finishing in the oven until tender. “We plate the burrata on a chili honey made by simply blending any kind of chili with honey,” Kamin-Korn explains. “[Then we make] agrodolce shallots by sautéing thinly sliced shallots until tender and then deglazing with balsamic vinegar, but any vinegar could be used.”
Next, plate your burrata, split down the center. Add the accoutrements on top and around, and finish with freshly shaved radishes and microgreens. “The last components of this dish are a little olive oil, sea salt, and lemon juice to top the dish and brighten up the flavors on the plate, and some toasted bread for dipping and smearing,” Kamin-Korn adds.
Burrata & Sweet Plantains
How does a Latin chef do burrata? Just look to the artful burrata dish at Alma Cocina Latina in Baltimore, created by Executive Chef, David Zamudio. "When I decided to add a burrata salad to the Alma menu, I wanted to make a Latin version of the classic dish that highlights traditional flavors from the different countries of Latin America, all working harmoniously together on one plate,” he explains. “My burrata salad features a traditional Argentinian chimichurri, the toasted blue corn tortillas as an homage to Mexico, the classic sweet plantains of Venezuela, the aji sauce highlighting a blend of Peruvian peppers, etc.” If that sounds a bit too adventurous for your cooking skills, not to worry. “A deconstructed version of this could be prepared at home by making an aji pepper sauce and chimichurri, toasting some tortillas or tortilla chips for dipping/spreading, and serving with burrata and some caramelized plantains," Zamudio says.
Burrata & Eggplant
Tomato’s fellow nightshade, the eggplant, also perfectly complements burrata. And it can similarly be prepared a number of ways. If you’re skipping bread, try the bruschetta alternative proposed by Christine Pittman, founder of COOKtheSTORY. Starting with sliced, roasted eggplant to serve as the crostini, then top with roasted peppers, basil, and garlic for a perfect party appetizer.
Want to get a little more exotic? Look to the smoked and grilled eggplant dish served at Mister Mao in New Orleans. “Usually you see [burrata] with bread or crackers, but we try to break the norm,” says Chef Sophina Uong. Here, she combines the eggplant and burrata with pineapple and Makrut lime chow chow (a pickled relish), for a tartness and sweetness that makes this preparation so unforgettable.
Burrata & Asparagus
As previously stated, burrata certainly isn’t just for putting on salads. Whip up a simple flatbread pizza with fresh veggies and use this dreamy cheese in lieu of traditional burrata. Sarah Bond of Live Eat Learn specifically loves making her pizza with roasted asparagus (buy it frozen if you can’t find it fresh this season) and fresh arugula with a squeeze of lemon. “[Burrata] has a subtle, creamy flavor that complements the asparagus and lemon zest in this recipe perfectly,” she says.