Margaret McSweeney, blogger extraordinaire, author, host of KitchenChat and good friend is celebrating French cooking during the month of September. She is honoring her father, who was an amazing gourmet and home cook, by exploring his favorite French cuisine. Look for her interviews with Master French Chef Jacque Pepin and Eric Spivey, Chairman of the Julia Child Foundation to learn more about her culinary journey.
I wanted to do a recipe to support her, and started to research Julia Child’s recipes for Italian food. What I found surprised me. According to Leah Binkovitz, who traveled with Julia throughout Italy, Julia didn’t particularly care for Italian food! She appreciated that Italian food was based on quality ingredients but found the techniques not as sophisticated as French cooking. I accepted that Italian food was just not Julia’s thing, and instead decided to look for a simple French dish to do instead but with a Italian twist. I also read that Julia said “that the best way to eat a radish is with butter on it!”. Voila! Italian Burrata Cheese with Radishes and Arugula would be perfect. I think even Julia would like this one.
Pairing radishes with butter works because of the peppery kick of the radishes with the smooth fat of the butter. A touch of sea salt is all you need. This Italian version pairs radishes and peppery arugula with the most buttery of Italian cheeses – burrata! A touch of sea salt, lemon zest, and extra-virgin olive oil makes this a perfect Italian appetizer.
According to Lara Postiglione, Italian cheese importer and owner of LaMozzarella, the name ‘burrata’ means ‘buttered’ in Italian. Imported from the Puglia region in Italy, burrata is a rich, porcelain-white, unripened cheese made by combining mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it a unique soft texture. The hand-crafting of this cheese gives it an unmistakable consistency and a unique buttery flavor. You can purchase this hard-to-get cheese at Lara’s LaMozzarellaChicago website.
Buttery Burrata with Radishes & Arugula
- 8 oz. Burrata
- 6 radishes sliced very thin (Use watermelon radishes if in season)
- 6 oz. baby arugula washed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons for bread
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice plus 1 teaspoon zest
- 1 tablespoon coarse-grind sea salt
- 1 loaf crusty Italian or French baguette
Dress sliced radishes and arugula with olive oil, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl.
Cut bread in slices, brush with olive oil and grill on both sides. If the bread is large, cut into fingers.
Place radishes and arugula salad on a platter. Place burrata on top of the salad. Garnish with sea salt, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and lemon zest. Serve with toast fingers.
Adapted from Lara Postiglione, La Mozzarella Chicago, courtesy of Bon Appétit Magazine