They say that Burrata is the best thing since sliced bread. And certainly it is very very good. A delicious mozzarella shell filled with thick cream. Has your mind gone to heaven? Indeed. It is simply the dreamiest. Creamy, luscious – burrata is Italian for butter, if that gives you any clues on how beautiful it can be.
Burrata is quite difficult to find here, in our little outback town of Adelaide. Not so in other cities, where it perches on the shelves of every supermarket. I had to search hard to find it within reasonable driving distance of my home. It took some time – distributors and cheese makers were not willing to help – I contacted several – but persistence paid and I found a reliable source not far from my work. That is Adelaide for you.
One of the great things about Burrata is that it is perfect for replacing coddled or poached eggs in salads. Thus for those who, like me, avoid cooking with eggs, the creaminess of the interior with the soft mozzarella coating brings that something that soft cooked eggs give to salads and baked dishes.
Celery salads are so rare, but I love one particular recipe, it is my favourite use of celery. I have modified it here to include the burrata. I hope you enjoy it. The origin is an Ottolenghi salad but the recipe keeps morphing into a dish that is appearing more and more often on our table.
Oh, and the other ingredient that is introduced in this salad, is Sour Grapes. Yes, I know, you all know those who are always full of sour grapes. But, it is also an exciting ingredient. Preserved sour grapes can be found in jars in Middle Eastern and Afghani groceries. They taste sour and briney, and a little like capers and caper berries. They are great in salads and in dishes where a sour taste is called for to balance other flavours. Pick some up today (or use capers in place of the grapes).
Similar recipes include Celery Salad with Lemon and Feta, Spinach and Watercress Salad with Ricotta, Purslane Salad with Herbs and Burrata, Celery Yoghurt Salad, Nashi Pear and Celery Salad, and some Simple Celery Salads.
Celery Salad with Sour Grapes and Burrata
8 celery stalks, sliced diagonally into 3mm thick pieces
2 green peppers, deseeded and cut into 0.5cm strips
1 medium onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 tspn caster sugar
½ tspn salt
1 small lime or lemon
2 Tblspn preserved lemon, chopped
6 – 8 asparagus spears, tough ends removed, lightly steamed, cooled and chopped into lengths
20g celery leaves
handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped
handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
handful dill leaves, roughly chopped
3 Tblspn sour grapes (see notes above) or capers
2 green chillies (or to taste), deseeded and finely sliced
2 Tblspn olive oil, plus a little extra to finish
1 ball burrata cheese (optional)
Place the celery, green pepper and onion in a bowl, sprinkle with the sugar and salt, and stir. Leave for 30 minutes, to soften the vegetables and draw out some of their juices which will moisten the salad.
Meanwhile, grate the zest of the lemon or lime with a microplane grater (or similar) and add to the salad after the 30 mins.
Now add the preserved lemon, steamed asparagus, celery leaves, dill, parsley, coriander, sour grapes or capers, chilli, olive oil and some black pepper, mix gently to combine and taste for seasoning. Add a little lime or lemon juice if needed.
Arrange the salad on a platter and top with slices of the burrata. Finish with a few drops of olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!