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House-Made Burrata

Uni Foam Technique

Technique: House-Made Burrata
Chef Todd Winer of The Metropolitan Club – Boston, MA
October 2009

Chef Todd Winer of The Metropolitan Club in Boston developed a technique to make burrata in-house, entirely sidestepping the need to source it for the restaurant. The cream-filled cousin to mozzarella, burrata literally means “buttered,” hinting at the rich interior of what looks like regular mozzarella cheese. Burrata is a comparatively recent import to the US, owing to the cost and difficulty of refrigeration during transportation from the Puglia region of Italy. It’s a sought after culinary commodity as it provides chefs with a kind of pre-packaged textural interplay – the tender solid mozzarella, the velvety smooth panna, and the delicate flecks of cheese swimming in cream. Its milky, buttery flavor provides a richness that is balanced by the freshness of the cheese to create a substantial but not overwhelming or heavy mouth feel.

Chef Winer uses a warm water bath to manipulate and mold his mozzarella curd, a method that is comparable to the traditional preparation. This process involves creating pouches as opposed to traditional solid balls of mozzarella. This pouch is filled with panna, or cream, with added flecks of mozzarella (discarded pieces that have accrued over the cheese making processes). The panna is sealed inside the mozzarella ball, using warm water in the same way traditional mozzarella is molded and pulled. When cut open, the interior oozes out - cream and ethereal flecks of mozzarella. In place of cream, Chef Winer uses mascarpone, resulting in a thicker interior.

Step 1: Set up an ice bath of sea salted water.
Step 2: Using an induction burner heat water and sea salt to 140°F.
Step 3: Crumble mozzarella curd into water and let sit for 5 to 7 minutes or until curd is soft and pliable.
Step 4: Take out approximately 4 ounces of curd and pull to stretch and develop elasticity.
Step 5: Dip the curd back into water and repeat, folding it onto itself in the palm of your hand.
Step 6: Make a small divot in the center and place 1 ½ ounces of cold mascarpone in the divot.
Step 7: Fold curd over the divot and briefly dip into the warm water.
Step 8: Stretch flap around ball, dipping in and out of the water as needed to make the curd pliable. Form a smooth ball with the palm of your hands.
Step 9: Put the burrata in an ice bath to cool.

Caprese Salad with House-Made Burrata
Chef Todd Winer of The Metropolitan Club – Boston, MA
Adapted by StarChefs.com
October 2009
Yield: Serves 4


INGREDIENTS

Smoked Tomato Oil:
Cherry wood chips
1 cup tomato paste
1½ pints extra virgin olive oil
Salt

Burrata:
1¼ cups Sicilian sea salt
5 cups whole milk mozzarella curd
9 ounces mascarpone, chilled

Tomatoes:
4 vine-ripened Backyard Beauty tomatoes medium size, still on the vine
4 leaves fresh basil

Basil Puree:
2 bunches local basil, washed and clipped
¼ cup corn starch
½ teaspoon Keltrol

Multi-Grain Croutons:
½ loaf rustic style multi-grain bread
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt

To Assemble and Serve
1 bunch purple basil, rinsed and torn 
1 bunch globe basil, rinsed and torn
25-year-old balsamico

METHOD

For the Smoked Tomato Oil:
Bring the cherry wood chips to a smolder. Thinly spread the tomato paste on a ¼ pan. Place the smoldering chips in their container on a sheet pan. Put the pan of tomato paste next to the chips and cover with a large pot. Let the chips smoke for 30 minutes. Stir the tomato paste and repeat the process. Put the smoked tomato paste in a small sauce pot cover with the olive oil and bring it to a simmer. Season with salt. Use an immersion blender to blend the tomato oil on low speed for 5 minutes. Cover and let cool. Pass through a fine-mesh chinois. Store up to 1 week.

For the Burrata:
Set up an ice bath of sea salted water. Use an induction burner to heat a large pot of water and sea salt to 140°F. Crumble the mozzarella curd into the water and let sit for 5 to 7 minutes or until the curd is soft and pliable. Take out approximately 4 ounces of the curd and pull to stretch. Dip it back into the water and repeat, folding it onto itself in the palm of your hand. Make a small divot in the center and place 1½ ounces of mascarpone in the divot. Fold the curd over again and dip back into the warm water. Stretch the flap around the ball as you dip it in and out of the water. Form a smooth ball with the palm of your hands. Place the burrata in the ice bath and let cool.

For the Tomatoes:
Clip the stems of the tomato about 2 inches from the fruit. Fill a pot with enough cold water to cover the tomatoes; bring it to a boil, adding a large pinch of salt and 4 basil leaves. Meanwhile, fill a large mixing bowl with ice water. Slice a small x on the bottom of each tomato, being careful not to go too deep. Cut a tight circle around the stem, again being careful not to go too deep. Use a slotted ladle to lower the tomatoes into the boiling water and blanch them for about 30 to 90 seconds. Transfer them to the cold water and cool for 20 to 30 seconds to stop the cooking process and make handling easier. Remove the tomatoes from the ice water and gently remove and discard their skins. Set tomatoes aside in refrigerator.  

For the Basil Puree:
Blanch and shock the basil. Place the basil in the refrigerator or cooler to chill. In a small sauce pot, combine the corn starch and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil, stirring constantly (it will turn opaque and look like a soft gel). Remove the mixture from the pan and let cool. Put the blanched basil and 2 teaspoons of the corn starch “gel” into a blender. Add a large pinch of salt and ¼ cup of ice water. Blend on high until a thick puree forms. Add more water if needed to thin it out. Add Keltrol and continue to blend. Remove and chill.

For the Multi-Grain Croutons:
Cut the bread into rectangular pieces, and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices. Coat the slices in olive oil and season with salt. Wrap each slice around a ring mold and bake at 250°F for 7 to 9 minutes. Remove and let cool.

To Assemble and Serve:  
Put a small dollop of the basil puree on a plate and drag across the plate to create a design. Arrange a piece of the burrata and tomato on the plate. Stack two of the croutons with the top one acting as a “cup.” Dress the purple and globe basil in extra virgin olive oil and place in the crouton. Spoon small amounts of the smoked tomato oil around the plate. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and dot with the balsamico.

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  Published: October 2009