Thursday, June 21, 2012

burrata with asparagus, pine nuts, and golden raisins.

Rather suddenly it has gotten very, very hot in New York.  While standing on the subway platform I feel like a cooked egg.  No amount of ice coffee can make me feel any cooler while I wait for the train.  I find the heat to be worse at the end of the day and by the time I get home all I want to do is lie down in our cool apartment and take a nap with a cold compress of my forehead.

The overbearing heat creates a challenging cooking environment - the idea of turning on the oven an unbearable thought.  However, eating raw veggies for the next three months doesn’t fulfill all my culinary desires.  With that being said, I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate a lot of the farmers market produce into a quick cooking dinner that doesn’t use the stove for longer then 10 minutes.  In addition, it needs be filling enough for the boyfriend - he can eat a lot and while I am happy with a few bites of food for dinner, he requires more then that.  A tall order perhaps, but I think it can be done.

I recently came across a dish for burrata and asparagus.  Reading the recipe made me feel as if I was in Italy eating outside under large olive trees.  I knew I had to make it.  With slices of toasted Italian bread drizzled with olive oil and double the amount of asparagus, it would be substantial enough for dinner.  I drizzled the whole dish with a little balsamic and some spicy honey (because really I haven’t come up with anything that it doesn’t taste good on) and had the perfect dinner for hot summer evenings. 

Burrata with Asparagus, Pine Nuts, and Golden Raisins

2 tablespoons golden raisins
¾ - 1 pound slender asparagus
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Salt and Pepper
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
1 ball of burrata (usually 6 – 8 oz in size)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Mikes Hot Honey

Soak the golden raisins in warm water to cover for at least 5 minutes.  Dain the fruit and pat dry.

Cut the woody ends from the asparagus and discard.  Cut the asparagus in 2 inch long pieces.  Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Add the asparagus to the water and cook until the spears are tender about 2 – 4 minutes. 

In a large skillet over low heat, warm the pine nuts until lightly toasted, shaking the pan occasionally.  Transfer the pine nuts to a plate to cool. 
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add the bread crumbs and cook, shaking the pan vigorously, until the crumbs are light golden and crisp, about 1 minute.  Transfer to a plate to cool. 

Place burrata on a plate.  Strew the asparagus, pine nuts, and raisins around the plate.  Top with breadcrumbs. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey.  Sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper. 

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