How to Serve Burrata

15 12 2010

Creamy burrata drizzled with olive oil and served with toast rounds is sure to impress at your next party

We’re in the middle of the holiday entertaining season and no party is complete without a cheese board.  Why not move beyond the usual brie/cheddar/blue cheese and splurge on something special?  Burrata is a fresh mozzarella ball filled with rich cream. It’s decadent, delicious and perfect for impressing your friends.  Until recently, burrata was only produced in Italy but a number of cheese makers in Canada and the United States are now making it domestically.

Check out an article I wrote about where to buy and how to serve burrata: How to Serve Burrata (Fresh Mozzarella Cheese from Puglia, Italy).

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

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Crab and Avocado Stuffed Tomatoes

27 08 2009
Crab and Avocado Stuffed Tomatoes

Crab and Avocado Stuffed Tomatoes

Summer is winding down but there’s still time to host an outdoor party before the evenings turn chilly.  Miniature tomatoes stuffed with a little bit of avocado and crab salad are always a hit and are easy to put together.  This dish was inspired by a salad I had on my honeymoon in France.  We enjoyed a fantastic multi-course lunch one day while overlooking the Mediterranean – everything was local and seasonal, including rosé wine, fish, vegetables and a salad of tomatoes and crab.  I took this idea and turned it into small bites that can be eaten as hors d’oeuvres but you could always serve it as a first course if you’d prefer.  Just use larger tomatoes and adjust the number of servings accordingly.  You can substitute lobster meat for the crab if desired.  

Crab and Avocado Stuffed Tomatoes

Makes 12 hors d’oeuvres (recipe can easily be doubled)

  • 12 cocktail or large grape tomatoes (about the size of a ping pong ball)
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked crabmeat (approximately 6 oz.) or lobster meat
  • 2 Tablespoons Hellman’s or Best Foods style mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon very finely diced red onion
  • 1 Tablespoon very finely diced celery
  • 1 Tablespoon finely diced red or yellow pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped Italian (flat leaf) parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chives, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 very ripe Haas avocado, skin and pit removed
  • 1 Tablespoon sour cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Using a sharp knife, cut a small sliver from the bottom of each tomato so it makes the bottom flat enough for them to stand upright without rolling over.
  2. Cut the top ¼ off the tomatoes. Scoop out the seeds and pulp and discard (be careful not to scoop right through the bottom of the tomato). Set tomatoes aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the crabmeat, mayonnaise, onion, celery, red pepper, parsley, chives, salt and pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. In a small bowl, combine avocado, sour cream and salt and mash with a fork until smooth.
  5. To assemble: Spoon a small scoop of avocado mixture into the bottom of each hollowed out tomato. Top with a spoonful of the crabmeat and garnish with chives.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

This recipe first appeared on Suite 101.com.





Grilled Asparagus with Herbed Goat Cheese and Prosciutto

21 05 2009

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The weather is starting to warm up and the season for outdoor entertaining has begun.  Grilling is a popular way to cook main courses such as chicken, burgers or steaks but you can make appetizers on the grill as well.  These asparagus spears wrapped in goat cheese and prosciutto make an elegant starter that will impress your guests.  There are a number of steps but they are very straightforward. The wrapped asparagus spears can be prepared in advance and only need a couple of minutes on the BBQ.

Use the fattest asparagus spears you can find – the pencil-thin ones won’t work for this dish.  Prosciutto is an Italian cured ham that is available in many supermarkets. Ask at the deli counter and make sure they slice it very thinly.  You can substitute Spanish serrano or other cured hams.  For the cheese, you can use a soft goat cheese, cream cheese or mascarpone.  Each one has a slightly different flavour but all will be delicious. The asparagus spears can also be cooked on an indoor grill if you don’t have access to an outdoor BBQ.

Helpful tip: if you want to zest a lemon for garnish, be sure to zest it before cutting the lemon open to juice it. To get more juice from your lemon, roll it on the counter, pressing down gently on the lemon as you roll. This helps break down the inside a bit so it’s easier to extract the juice.

Grilled Asparagus with Herbed Goat Cheese and Prosciutto

Makes 10 asparagus spears

  • 10 fat asparagus spears
  • 10 slices cured ham such as prosciutto or serrano, sliced very thinly
  • Lemon zest for garnish (optional)

Herbed Cheese:

  • 3 Tablespoons (about 2-1/2 oz) soft cheese such as goat cheese, cream cheese or mascarpone – at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme 
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • A dash of salt and pepper

Lemon-Oil:

  • 1 Tablespooon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoon neutral oil such as canola or safflower
  • 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard

To prepare asparagus:

  1. Trim any woody ends and discard.  Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside.  In a large saucepan, add enough water to just cover asparagus and bring to a boil.  Cook asparagus for about 2-1/2 to 3 minutes, until it is just tender.  
  2. Drain and plunge immediately into the ice water to halt cooking.  Let asparagus cool completely, drain and pat dry.

To make herbed cheese:

  1. Spoon room-temperature goat, cream cheese or mascarpone cheese into a small bowl.  Add chive, thyme, lemon juice salt and pepper.  Use a fork to mix herbs into cheese until thoroughly combined.  Cheese can be made in advance and refrigerated until use.  Bring back to room temperature before using.

To prepare lemon oil:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil and mustard until combined.

Putting it all together:

  1. Lay out prosciutto slices in a single layer.  Scoop a small amount of herbed cheese (about 3/4 teaspoon) and spread it in a thin layer on a prosciutto slice as though buttering a piece of bread.  Repeat for all slices.  
  2. Wrap each slice of prosciutto around an asparagus spear, starting at the bottom of the spear.  Make sure the cheese side is against the asparagus – it will act like ‘glue’ to help the prosciutto stick.  Appetizers may be prepared to this point and refrigerated until ready to use.
  3. Prepare grill or light barbeque.  Brush each wrapped asparagus spear with the lemon-oil and grill until the prosciutto begins to get crispy around the edges, about 2 minutes.  Turn over with tongs and grill for another 2 minutes.
  4. Arrange on a platter and garnish with lemon zest if desired.  They are meant to be eaten as finger food but they can be plated and eaten with a fork if you’d prefer.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!





Smoked Salmon Spread

20 12 2008

 

Smoked Salmon

Things have been pretty quiet this December at The Seasonal Gourmet.  I’ve been busy working on a project and getting ready for Christmas so there hasn’t been a lot of time for recipe development and baking (plus, for dietary reasons I’ve cut back on cookies and sweets this year).  However, it is the season for entertaining family and friends so here’s an easy smoked salmon spread that is delicious on crackers.   You can use reduced fat cream cheese and serve on cucumber rounds to lighten it up a little.

Smoked Salmon Spread

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

  • 4 oz. (113 g) smoked salmon slices (about 5 slices)
  • 1 package (250 g / 8 oz) light cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Dill sprig, for garnish

 

  1. Make sure cream cheese is at room temperature.  Cut into chunks and place in a food processor.
  2. Add all other ingredients and pulse until mixture is smooth.  Keep refrigerated until ready to use.  Serve with crackers or cucumber rounds.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

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