Salad

Burrata & Peaches Join Up for a Swoon-Worthy Salad

by:
July 30, 2018

Summer is a time for relaxing our routines, letting the kids stay up a little past their bedtimes, or maybe even saying okay to ice cream cones for lunch when the mercury hits 90 degrees.

It’s also a time for turning even the most iconic of summertime classics on their heads.

I love caprese, the traditional trifecta of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. But the formula is just too good to limit to tomatoes.

The caprese that lets its hair down. Photo by James Ransom

Case in point, this version ditches the tomatoes, calls in eggplant and peaches, and upgrades to burrata. Then it heads straight to the grill, aperitif in hand—all without breaking a sweat, even on the hottest, drippiest of days. It defies your caprese preconceptions. It’s charred and juicy, savory and sweet, warm and cool, creamy and snappy. It’s a caprese interesting and satisfying enough to call dinner one night, and then repeat the next.

For simple salads like this one, details matter. Here are the ones that make this caprese shine.

Grilling eggplant: If you’ve ever tried to toss or drizzle eggplant with olive oil, you know the challenge: it slurps it up, you keep adding more, you have oily eggplant. A better way to go? A simple, boldly flavored rub. My favorite one at the moment is equal parts yogurt, miso, and olive oil. It’s easy to apply, packs a flavorful punch, and promotes a gorgeous char on the grill. Plus, the salty, umami-ness of miso is a natural match with eggplant and sweet peaches. I use white (shiro) miso because it’s usually what I have on hand, but opt for red or yellow miso for even bolder flavor.

Picking your fruit: I adore the combination of peaches and eggplant. The two work so beautifully together for the same reason that savory eggplant and sweet tomatoes are a tried-and-true pairing. But you can try apricots, nectarines, or plums, too. Choose firm-ripe stone fruit for the best textural contrast with the rest of the salad.

Choosing your cheese: Even if you've never tried it, it’s hard to mistake burrata for any other type of mozzarella. It’s shaped in a ball, with an outer shell of mozzarella and an oozy, pillowy middle of stracciatella and cream. And yes, it’s a bit of a splurge. But when you’re taking a salad to the main plate, with no meat, I find the small cost difference between it and other fresh mozzarella is so worth it. Here, with the crispy-edged, charred eggplant, its rich creaminess is nothing short of magic. If you can’t find burrata, look for a good quality, fresh mozzarella packed in water, such as ovoline, bocconcini, or buffalo.

What's your favorite riff on the caprese? Share your recipes in the comments below.


What to do with those extra tomatoes

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