Why this Recipe?
During late summer one of my favorite dishes to make is an Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad. It is the perfect way to celebrate the tomato harvest without overcomplicating things. There is not much to making this dish, but that is part of the beauty of it. The use of a Basil Oil introduces a subtle herb flavor without being overpowering. Creamy Burrata adds some much need body to the dish, while remaining an understudy to the tomato. Garlic Crostini provide a contrasting texture with just a touch of bite. For me this salad checks all the boxes for a low fuss afternoon snack on a late summer day.
Here are some helpful tips making a Tomato and Burrata Salad
- This recipe is incredibly simple, so choosing high quality ingredients is essential.
- Keep your Tomatoes out of the refrigerator, this will prevent them from getting mealy. Try to store them stem side down, they will keep better this way.
- Allow your Burrata some time to come up to room temperature. The creamy texture and soft center are best enjoyed this way.
- Two additional recipes are included in this Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad, both are quick and easy. I recommend you make the crostini and basil oil ahead of time.
Choosing Your Ingredients
You will want to find the very best tomatoes you can for this salad. And a lot of that depends on the time of year for most people. Most areas in the United States I would recommend late July though September. But, if you have access to great Heirloom tomatoes, this salad is a must try regardless of the calendar.
Either Heirloom Tomato varieties or ones that are fresh from the garden / farmers market are what you want use. Choose an heirloom tomato can be dauting, because they often do not look like a perfectly round bright red tomato.
What you should look for when selecting your tomatoes are the following:
- There should be a shine to the skin. Under ripe tomatoes have a dull appearance.
- Firm and smooth skin. You do not want to see wrinkles or punctures. It should give a little when squeezed. Just be careful not to bruise it.
- The smell should be aromatic when ripe. A non ripe tomato does not have much of a smell at all.
- Some broken seam or spots at the base are ok, you just need to cut away that portion. Typically that is just cosmetic and many heirloom breeds are notorious for them.
- Heirloom Tomato color can be super confusing. Some are yellow, others red, green, and some are even purple. Regardless of it’s color, it should be a deep hue. A red tomato should be red and not pink. Yellow should be a deep yellow.
- If the variety is labeled, you best bet is to grab your smart phone and look up that variety to compare the images. If it looks like the top images, chances are you are in luck.
The standard Beefsteaks, Romas, and “on the vine” variety you find at the produce section year round are not ideal for this tomato and burrata salad. They are often picked under ripe for transport and lack flavor.
If you do not have access to mind blowing tomatoes and you still want to try this recipe.
There are two solutions. First, I recommend slicing your tomatoes and placing them in a bowl with a touch of sugar and a splash of white wine vinegar for 15 minutes. It will breathe a little extra life into them.
Otherwise, pick a cherry or grape tomato and roast them in the oven with some olive oil for 30-40 minutes at 400 F. This will concentrate the flavor and give them good depth.
If you are unfamiliar with Burrata cheese, the flavor is relatively mild. It is similar to a fresh mozzarella, but it has a creamy center. And that is what makes it so special. You want to be careful handling it as the soft exterior can easily puncture.
You can typically find Burrata in the specialty cheese display at most grocery stores. It comes in a small deli style container floating in a liquid that is typically, salted water or whey. Burrata is stored that way to keep it from drying out and to maintain it’s shape.
When you are getting ready to serve burrata, allow it time to come up to room temperature. I like it to leave it in the liquid for this. Then just before serving, carefully remove and rest on a towel to absorb any of the water.
When serving burrata, I like to season it with salt and black pepper while it is whole and once again after it has been split open. Since the flavor is so mild, it definitely benefits from some salt. If you happen to have any “finishing salts” in your pantry, this is the perfect opportunity to bust them out. I happen to like using a nice grey salt, like this one, on this burrata and tomato salad.
Basil oil is one of the things that really makes this Tomato and Burrata salad stand out visually. As an added benefit, it brings a subtle basil and olive oil flavor to the dish. If you allow the sliced tomatoes to rest basil oil 10-15 minutes prior to serving, they really compliment one another.
Making it might sound intimidating, but I assure you, it is incredibly easy to make. In another article on this site I go over how to make it. Click Here for the the Recipe, or watch the tutorial and you will see exactly how to make it yourself.
Garlic Crostini is simply, sliced bread that is toasted with olive oil and seasoned. Sometimes you can buy it in the bakery section of your grocery store. But, it is easy to make at home in just a few minutes.
Just like the basil oil, I have covered Garlic Crostini in a previous post. Click here for the recipe or check out the tutorial.
Balsamic Glaze adds just a touch of acidity to this dish as well as some sweetness. There are three ways I know of to make balsamic glaze. The first one is what I used to use in professional kitchens. That would be to take a gallon of balsamic vinegar and let it reduce on the stove until it has a syrup consistency.
The second, which I recommend for home use is simply buy it. This one here, is what I use at home. It is good, inexpensive, and doesn’t make your entire house smell like vinegar.
The third option is aging balsamic vinegar, often it would be aged a minimum of 25 years. You can buy aged balsamic vinegars. I will warn you, these are expensive, but they are incredible. If your budget allows for it, this dish would be a perfect opportunity to use one.
Items you will need to make this Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad
These are items that I personally use, any purchases made from the links below support this site.
- Mesh Strainer
- Mixing Bowls
- Tea Towels or Paper Towels
- Measuring Cups
- Sauce Pot
- Cutting Board
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Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad
- With basil oil and crostini completed. Wash and slice tomatoes into pieces about the same size as your crostini. Arrange on a serving dish and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. of basil oil.
- Remove burrata from liquid and set on towel to absorb excess liquid. Once dry, transfer to serving plate. Season tomatoes and burrata with salt and pepper.
- Tear by hand 1 Tbsp worth of basil leaves and distribute around serving plate. Drizzle salad with balsamic glaze. Serve with garlic crostini.
- Use a butter knife to serve Burrata. Once burrata has been sliced into, season with additional Salt and Pepper.