shelf life, two or three days, before they begin to sour, so it’s worth asking when shipments arrive and checking dates for the freshest possible specimens.
Fresh burrata needs no adornment, just good bread, or perhaps a drizzle of olive oil and a few arugula leaves. To make it more festive, you can add a quickly made topping of seasonal vegetables, and serve the gilded burrata as a salad or an antipasto. Bright-green fava beans, celery and fennel make a striking rendition for spring, flecked with mint or basil. I wowed my guests when I served this recently.
Consider other pairings throughout the year: slices of grilled eggplant or roasted red and yellow peppers, daubed with basil pesto; a salad of heirloom tomatoes; chanterelle mushrooms sautéed with rosemary and garlic; grilled radicchio.
Good with drinks or as an impromptu meal, burrata, with your accompaniment of choice, makes for easy entertaining. 45 minutes 4 servings
1.3kg fresh fava beans in the pod 1 small shallot, finely diced
3 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
¼ cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil ½ cup thinly sliced celery (tender inner stalks)
⅔ cup thinly sliced fennel A handful of small arugula leaves
Mint or basil, for garnish
1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, and fill a large bowl with ice water and keep it nearby. Meanwhile, shuck the fava beans from the pods. Plunge beans into boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes. Drain beans, then cool in the ice water to stop cooking. Blot beans on a clean kitchen towel. 2. Remove outer gray skin from each bean: Pierce with a thumbnail or paring knife and squeeze to pop bean from skin. Your yield should be about 2½ cups peeled beans. Discard skins. (If desired, beans may be peeled several hours ahead or a day in advance and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before proceeding.)
3. Make the dressing: Put diced shallot in a small bowl and cover with lemon juice. Add a good pinch of salt and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Whisk in olive oil.
4. Place fava beans, celery and fennel in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add dressing and toss well.
5. Place burrata in the centre of a platter. Arrange arugula leaves at edges of platter. Spoon fava bean mixture and dressing over and around burrata. Garnish with roughly chopped mint or torn basil leaves and serve immediately.