Wednesday marked the last day of freshly picked summer tomatoes at the farmers market. I have mixed feelings about this; part of me is mourning the loss of hot, lazy days while another part is enjoying sweatshirts and long pants again. Having spent so many years in Southern California, I really treasure the changing of the seasons and that nesting feeling that only chilly fall days can bring. Still, I'm sad that there will be no more bright, juicy red and yellow gems at the market for another nine months. There are some cherry tomatoes remaining on our own plants but there's hardly enough left to make a meal (they're usually plucked by two little girls as they're running by but who deny knowing how they disappeared).
Summer tomatoes are at their best when they're prepared simply so the flavor can shine. When I spotted some freshly made Burrata cheese I knew a caprese salad would definitely happen. For those who haven't tried Burrata cheese, it's essentially mozzarella wrapped around a creamy center made with mozzarella and cream. The center will hold its shape somewhat but has a very soft, velvety texture. I absolutely love it and it's such a nice change of pace from a typical mozzarella.
The shape of Burrata cheese is so unique – it looks like a bag or purse – that I like to serve it whole for presentation's sake. It makes for an easy family-style first course or appetizer, perfect to celebrate – or mourn, depending on your perspective – the end of summer. I also made a quick balsamic reduction (is there a day or week that goes by when I don't? I may need an intervention) to serve on the side for drizzling. So there you have it – a proper send-off to summer. Goodbye tomatoes, hello pumpkins!
- 1 large burrata cheese
- 3 - 4 fresh summer tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, boiled until reduced by half
- high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Arrange tomato slices around edge of serving platter. Place cheese and basil leaves in the center.
- Drizzle lightly with olive oil and balsamic reduction (serve remaining balsamic on the side).
- Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.