Light lunch packed with flavor
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 together. The recipe combines a simple meat and cheese with spring ingredients that are added as a seasonal addition.
When spring comes into full bloom I can’t wait to cook with fresh peas. Look for fresh peas at your local farmers’ market, and use the peas quickly so they retain their sweet flavor. (Some tips: Feel free to open up a pea pod and taste the peas to make sure they are sweet, rather than starchy or bitter. Some farmers’ markets even 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.
You can find burrata and packages of sliced prosciutto at specialty shops and some supermarkets. The burrata is worth hunting for, but if it’s 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. Don’t forget to serve this with some crusty French bread.
Burrata with Minted Peas, Prosciutto and Hazelnuts
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
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1 pound fresh burrata, cut into 16 slices
2 tablespoons finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
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.
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.
Arrange prosciutto slices folded over on a large round or rectangular serving dish. Arrange overlapping slices of burrata on top of the prosciutto in the center.
Spoon the pea and mint mixture onto the burrata, allowing a bit to fall onto the prosciutto. 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. Serves 4.
Per serving: 571 calories; 48 g fat (20 g saturated fat; 76 percent calories from fat); 12 g carbohydrates; 5 g sugar; 25 mg cholesterol; 894 mg sodium; 25 g protein; 4 g fiber.