Friday, April 23, 2010

April 23rd - Crostini with Burrata Cheese, Pink Pepper, & Arugula

A Constant Search
First off, I have no idea where you can find burrata cheese.  I have looked at an Italian deli, 3 grocery stores, and one specialty cheese shop.  All of whom said they don't carry it and when I asked if they knew of anyone that had it, they said NO.  Since burrata cheese is similar to fresh mozzarella, that's what I ended up getting.  

Second, I honestly feel bad sometimes that I can't make Bon Appetit's true recipe when I cannot find an obscure ingredient like this.  At the same time, I cannot spend 5 hours looking for one cheese.  Sorry guys.  So, you'll have to pardon the substitution.  If you live in an area that has the burrata, I suggest trying it in this recipe.

Pink peppercorns, on the other hand, are now quite easy to find.  Pink peppercorns are "the dried berries of the Baies rose plant grown off the coast of Madagascar.  Their distinctive flavor -- pungent and slightly sweet -- invites experimentation in cooking.  A wonderful complement to cheese, poultry, and seafood dishes, the rose-hued berries also make a beautiful garnish" (off the bottle of Willliams-Sonoma Pink Peppercorns).

The Recipe

Baguette: $1.59
Garlic: had
Arugula: $2.29
Mozzarella Cheese: $3.19
Pink Peppercorns: had
Sea Salt: had

Total: $7.07

The Results

FAST: After toasting the bread (which will take 3 minutes), the rest of the ingredients get mounded on top.  Depending on if you have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) or not, the little crostini will take only a few seconds to assemble.  You really can have this recipe done in about 5 minutes.

EASY:  Don't walk away from the oven when you put the bread in.  It only takes a minute or two before these guys brown.  Any longer and you'll be smelling burnt bread for the next hour or so.

FRESH: The play of bitter (from the fresh arugula), garlic, creaminess (from the cheese), and sweet pungency (from the pink peppercorn) work really well together.  Just make sure to give it a drizzle of olive oil to compliment the whole thing.

OVERALL:  These are a quick and easy appetizer to serve.  You can substitute a variety of cheeses...I would maybe like a blue cheese?  Just make sure not to cut the bread too thick and that you toast it well.  I'm sure, some day, I will probably run across burrata cheese and have to give this one a try again. 

Blueberry crisp for the weekend!  See ya then!

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