We love our cheese. We’re from Wisconsin. On a recent food travel trip to Door County, we snuggled in for an amazing farm-to-table dinner at Trixie’s in Ephriam. While all the dishes delighted and impressed, we couldn’t refuse the opportunity to share their recipe for burrata, an appetizer made with fresh mozzarella and cream.
In Italian, burrata translates to “buttery,” so you know this dish is indulgent. The outside of the burrata is solid mozzarella formed into a pouch, filled inside with a soft and creamy soft cheese mixture. For those who already make their own mozzarella cheese, this recipe is perfect for the Christmas holidays, New Year celebrations or if you want to take your Super Bowl party up a major notch.
“We knew we needed to find a way to put cheese on the menu in a distinctive way, this being a wine bar in Wisconsin,” beams Sarah Holmes, owner and manager of Trixie’s. “Burrata seemed like the most obvious choice. You don’t see it on a lot of menus in the area and it’s something very special we knew we could make using products from our home state. Burrata fits in just right because it’s soft and pillowy, kind of like Trixie’s. Burrata pairs well with gremolata, olive oil and balsamic, grape must or chutney.”
Trixie’s is also a part of the national phenomenon of farmers-turned-chefs. Who knows the ingredients on a menu better than the farmers who grow them? While starting out as farmers, Chefs Matt Chambas and Erin Murphy are now the masters in Trixie’s kitchen, creating a fusion of Midwestern flavors alongside Asian, Israeli and Greek dishes. From miso ramen to saganaki, wontons to couscous, there’s a creative and tasty dish for everyone here.
“Our restaurants were founded on the idea that they would source local ingredients whenever possible and would keep sustainability at the forefront,” says Holmes, who is also co-owner, with her husband Mike Holmes, of the Wickman House. “We met Matt and Erin six years ago when they were roommates at a hobby farm we used to call Mink River Farms. Neither of them are from Door County but they both were drawn here by the opportunity to be part farmer, part chef. They both spend their days off foraging the county for mushrooms, ramps, spruce tips, and flowers. They both played a huge role in the development of the Wickman House gardens which supply both restaurants with produce.”
In high season, Trixie’s and Wickman House are 90% local, with the majority coming right from the backyard garden of Wickman House. “Here you have real relationships with the people that grow the food you serve and it’s very exciting to be a part of the process,” adds Holmes. “Our staff find it easy to get behind the products they sell because they literally know the people who grow and harvest the ingredients in the dishes they present. Some of our trusted growers and purveyors are Waseda Farms, Healthy Ridge Farms, Hidden Acres Farms, Cold Climate Farms, Henriksen Fishery, and Door County Creamery.”
For their fresh curd for the burrata, they turn to Grande Cheese, located in Lorima, Wisconsin. “We don't make it ourselves because we can't use raw milk in a restaurant, but it isn't difficult,” explains Holmes. “You could eat the burrata with crackers or anything you like. We like a spongey bread like focaccia. The gremolata brings a nice acidity and brightness to the dish.”
Burrata with Confit Tomatoes and Gremolata Vinaigrette
Courtesy of Trixie’s
Yield: 12 – 14 servings
Ingredients for Burrata:
• 10 lbs. fresh mozzarella curd (fresh curd whole milk mozzarella)
• 3 quarts heavy whipping cream
• 3 tbsp sea salt
• lemon zest to taste
• 5 cherry tomatoes
Ingredients for Gremolata:
• bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
• bunch basil, finely chopped
• 1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
• 1 lemon, zest
• ½ tbsp red pepper flakes
• 3 cloves garlic, grated
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 1 ½ tsp sea salt
For the Burrata Filling:
Take half of the mozzarella curd and blend it until the texture becomes somewhere in between cottage cheese and ricotta. Add blended curd into a mixing bowl and mix in roughly three quarts of heavy whipping cream until mixture becomes smooth and even. Add in three tablespoons of sea salt and mix thoroughly. To make it easier on yourself, you can use store bought ricotta as a replacement for the burrata filling.
For the Burrata Outer Layer:
1. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to 190 degrees and add the remaining 5 lbs. of cheese curd.
2. Set stovetop burner to low and warm water and curd until the curd becomes softly melted.
3. Once cheese is soft enough to stretch, rip off a handful and stretch it out 3 to 4 times until the cheese stretches with ease. Take that cheese and form a ball and press down on a flat surface creating a disk.
4. Press flattened cheese into a 4-ounce ramekin, allowing the cheese to drape over the outside walls of the ramekin.
5. Fill ramekin with 2 ounces of filling.
6. Pinch the cheese closed with an accordion fold and finish sealing by wrapping it with cooking twine.
7. Place finished burrata into a container of water, completely submerged, for storage.
For the Gremolata Vinaigrette:
Prepare theinaigrette by combining Italian flat leaf parsley and basil. Add rosemary, zest of 2 lemons, red pepper flakes and garlic. Mix together and cover completely with olive oil and add sea salt. Set aside.
For the Tomatoes:
Oven dry small tomatoes for 3 hours at 250 degrees. Set aside.
When ready to serve, cut off the excess cheese just above the string. Place onto a plate. The burrata will appear to be a perfect cheese ball. Top it off with some fleur de sel (a hand-harvested sea salt with a particular crunch and light taste), freshly cracked pepper, and lemon zest, as well as the Gremolata Vinaigrette. Arrange the tomatoes around the burrata.
Lisa Kivirist, with her husband and photographer, John D. Ivanko, have co-authored Rural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winning ECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chef cookbook along with operating Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by the wind and sun. Both are speakers at the Mother Earth News Fairs. Kivirist also authored Soil Sisters. As a writer, Kivirist contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently, 9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam, millions of ladybugs and a 10 kW Bergey wind turbine. Read all of Lisa's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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