Burrata with Minted Peas, Proscuitto and Hazelnuts: A Springtime Delight

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This is one of my favorite dishes to serve as an appetizer or a main course for lunch. Little cooking is required and it is fun to put it all together. When spring comes into full bloom I can’t wait to cook with fresh peas. Look for fresh peas at your local farmer’s market and use them quickly so the peas retain their sweet flavor. Feel free to open up a pea pod and taste the peas to make sure they are sweet and aren’t starchy or bitter. Some farmers markets offer peas freshly shucked if you are in a hurry.

 

Burrata was invented as a way to use leftover curds after making mozzarella. The mozzarella is formed into a pouch and filled with these creamy curds. This is so delicious but a little goes a long way because it is so rich and creamy. Don’t worry if the burrata doesn’t slice evenly because the interior is very creamy.

 

This recipe combines a simple meat and cheese pairing with spring ingredients that are added as a seasonal addition. You can find burrata and packages of sliced proscuitto at specialty shops and some supermarkets. The burrata is worth hunting for but if not available try a good quality fresh mozzarella. I like to finish this dish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts. The nuts add a toasty flavor and coarse texture against the creamy burrata. To drink? I like a California chardonnay or a full-bodied rose. Don’t forget to serve this with some crusty French bread.

 

Burrata with Minted Peas, Proscuitto and Hazelnuts

 

Serves 4

 

1 1⁄4 cups fresh peas ( about 1 pound fresh pea pods)

1/3 cup medium-size mint leaves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces thinly sliced proscuitto

1 pound fresh burrata, cut into 16 slices

2 tablespoons finely chopped toasted hazelnuts

 

  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat; add the peas and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Cool and reserve.

 

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the peas, mint, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix gently until thoroughly combined.

 

  1. Arrange proscuito slices folded over on a large round or rectangular serving dish. Arrange overlapping slices of burrata on top of the proscuitto in the center.

 

  1. Spoon the pea and mint mixture onto the burrata, allowing a bit to fall onto the proscuitto. Drizzle the remaining1 tablespoon of olive oil evenly over the top. Sprinkle the hazelnuts evenly on top and season with freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.

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