Celebrating the last of the summer tomatoes just got a little sweeter with this beautiful salad filled with a few of my favorite things….tomatoes, basil and creamy, dreamy burrata. I can eat a fresh ball of burrata much like a tomato, in one or two bites, especially one that is made well. Our local Italian shop, Jimmy’s, flies fresh burrata over from Italy a few times a year and it must be consumed within a few days of its arrival. (Never a problem for us.) We have found good options at our local Trader Joe’s and Central Markets as well. You could just use fresh mozzarella, but the bit of fresh cream inside the burrata is what really makes this special. We paired an earthy Salice Salentino DOC Negroamaro from Li Veli in Puglia with the dish. An Italian favorite with dried and ripe red fruit, dusty earthiness and a touch of spice.
Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad with Pesto Vin & Lemon Aioli
For the salad:
1 pint cherry heirloom tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters (if they are large)
6 heirloom tomatoes, whatever your favorites, cut into wedges
2 fresh balls of burrata
1 pint ciliegine (cherry size) fresh mozzarella balls
Fresh basil and parsley, chopped for garnish
Salt and pepper
Baby arugula or spring greens for garnish
For the Basil Pesto Vin:
1 bunch fresh basil, leaves only, roughly chopped
1 ounce shredded parmesan cheese
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon
1 large clove garlic, smashed
Splash white wine or water
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
For the lemon aioli:
1 large garlic clove, split in half
2 tablespoons + 1/2 cup grapeseed oil, or other oil without an overwhelming aroma
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme
pinch salt and pepper
For the aioli: Add the egg yolk, mustard, lemon zest and juice, vinegar, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper, with just a bit of oil to a blender and begin blending. Slowly stream in the oil allowing the aioli to become creamy rich. Pour into a squeeze bottle to help decorate the plates nicely, or a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the basil pesto vin: Add all ingredients except the oil and vinegar to a blender and pulse a few times, then on low speed drizzle the oil and vinegar until fully incorporated and the basil is fully minced. Pour out into a squeeze bottle to help with plate decoration, or a jar with a lid and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the salad: Slice all your tomatoes into bit size pieces then evenly distrubute your tomatoes on all your plates, making sure each plate has a different selection of colors and textures. Dot a few pieces of ciliegine mozzarella around each plate. But each ball of burrata in half and place 1 half on in the center of each plate. Sprinkle the plate with salt and pepper. Drizzle a light squeeze of aioli across each plate and follow with the pesto vin. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs and greens and serve.