Burrata with mesclun and hazelnuts

The Italian cheese called burrata is essentially mozzarella filled with cream. It is both rich and light — not a contradiction. In this salad, it marries delightfully with mixed tender greens (mesclun), roasted hazelnuts and a drizzle of raspberry sauce.

mesclun2The burrata, which comes packed in water, should be as fresh as possible. You can find it at fine food shops. For the tender greens, use a pre-packaged combination or — if you’d like to compose your own mesclun — check this recipe for details. For maximum freshness, buy the hazelnuts whole and shell them yourself. But if you’re in a hurry, pre-shelled hazelnuts are fine.

Serve the salad either as a starter or as a main course at lunch, with crusty bread and a bottle of red alongside.

1 burrata
1 cup (125 g) fresh raspberries
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
3 tsp. sugar
10 shelled hazelnuts
large handful mixed tender greens (mesclun)
2 tbsp. hazelnut oil or olive oil
1 tsp. raspberry vinegar or balsamic vinegar

Place the burrata in a colander to drain.

Place the raspberries, water and 2 tsp. sugar in a pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook 5 minutes.

Place a sieve over a bowl. Pour the raspberries into the sieve and press through, using the back of a spoon. This requires some patience. When there are mainly just seeds left in the sieve, use a clean spoon to scrape any extra pulp from beneath the sieve into the bowl.

Pour the raspberry sauce into a clean pot. Add 1 tsp. sugar. Bring to a gentle boil to thicken, about 5 minutes. You are aiming for the consistency of heavy cream. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to gasmark 6 (350 F, 180 C).

Place the hazelnuts in a baking pan and roast in the oven for about 5 minutes, until you can smell their aroma. Check every couple of minutes to ensure they do not burn.

Remove the nuts from the oven and, while they are still warm, slice in half or quarters. Remove as much peel as you can.

Now you are ready to assemble the salad. Start by drizzling the raspberry sauce around the edge of a large plate — use a small, tapered spoon if you have one.

Now place a pile of tender leaves on one side of the plate and the burrata on the other. Sprinkle the leaves with the hazelnuts. Salt lightly.

Combine the oil and vinegar, stirring to emulsify. Drizzle over the leaves.

Serves 2 as a starter, 1 as a main course.

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