Burrata Caprese with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil OilPrep Time: 20 minutes (plus 3 hours resting time for the oil)Cooking Time: 1 minuteTotal Time: 3 hours, 21 minutesYield: Serves 6Balsamic CaviarPrep Time: 2 hoursCooking Time: 5 minutesTotal Time: 2 hours, 5 minutesYield: 6 servings
10 to 12 heirloom tomatoes, preferably 4 large and 6 small, at peak of season (about 900 g or 2 lb)
340 g (12 oz or 3 balls) burrata cheese (may substitute with mozzarella)
90 ml (6 tbsp) basil oil (recipe follows)
90 g (6 tbsp) Balsamic Caviar (recipe follows - may substitute with good quality balsamic vinegar)
Sea salt, preferably grey salt
Freshly ground black pepper
For the Basil Oil
80 g firmly packed fresh basil leaves
480 ml olive oil
1.4 l grapeseed or canola oil
480 ml balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar, or red wine vinegar
15 cold gelatin sheets
700-950 ml water
For the tomatoes:
1Cut the large tomatoes into 13-mm (½-in) slices and then cut the slices in half again. Cut the smaller tomatoes into wedges and arrange on the plates so each serving shows a variety of colours and sizes, half-slices and wedges.
2With your hands, tear the burrata, arranging about half a ball on each plate.
3Drizzle the basil oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle a good amount of the Balsamic Caviar or your balsamic vinegar on each salad, and serve.
For the basil oil:
1In a blender, puree the basil and olive oil until completely smooth.
2Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat; when you see small bubbles, let it cook for 45 seconds. Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Tap the sieve lightly to coax the oil through but don’t press on the solids with a spoon.
3Let the oil cool for about 15 minutes, but strain it while it’s still warm because warm oil passes through the filters easier. While the oil cools, layer three coffee filters inside each other in a large sieve or strainer and set the sieve securely over a heat proof container. Ladling from the top, transfer the oil into the layered filters and let it drip through. When most of the oil has gone through, pick up the filters and use your fingers to squeeze out the remaining oil, taking care not to tear the paper.
4Let the filtered oil stand for a few hours and then pour it slowly into a clean container, leaving any sediment or cloudy liquid behind. If kept in an airtight jar in a cool, dark place, this oil will hold its bright flavour for at least 1 month.
1Pour the oil into a clean, empty, 1.9 L (3 pt) milk carton. Put it in the freezer for about 1 hour. The oil will turn cloudy and almost become icy.
2Bring the vinegar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, strain through a fine mesh sieve and set aside.
3Place the gelatine sheets in a stainless-steel roasting pan. Pour enough ice water over them just to cover. Let the sheets soften for about 5 minutes. Lift the gelatine from the water and squeeze out any water that you can. Discard the water left in the pan.
4Add the softened gelatine to the warm vinegar. Whisk gently over medium heat until the liquid returns to a boil, then remove from heat.
5Pour through a fine-mesh sieve. Let stand for about 1 hour or until it’s about room temperature, but don’t let it turn solid.
6Using a squeeze bottle with a narrow tip, fill the bottle with the vinegar mixture and let it rest in the freezer for at least 2 minutes.
7Holding the squeeze bottle over the cold oil, very gently squeeze out one bead at a time, moving the bottle so the drops fall apart from each other. Transfer the container of oil with the vinegar bubbles to the freezer for 2 minutes.
8Using a large, fine mesh sieve, gently strain the little beads, and then transfer them carefully into a shallow dish. Cover and refrigerate immediately. The “caviar” should be used the same day it’s made.
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