Black Truffle Burrata with Butter Braised Leeks
"This was the first burrata dish that we introduced at The 404 Kitchen. It sings to my heart every time I think about it much less eat it. The butter braised leaks are rustic and delicious. The making of the burrata is almost tantric and when it is combined with the crispy Benton's ham (Allan being a great friend of mine) I am reminded of how pure food can be. Honest and uncomplicated at it's best!" says Chef Matt Bolus of The 404 Kitchen, located in Nashville's trendy Gulch neighborhood.
- 1 pound, Mozzarella Curd, use the best available, Bolus uses Caputo Brothers curd
- 2 cups Heavy Cream, the higher the fat content the better
- 1 Tbsp. Black Truffle Oil
- Kosher Salt
- 1/2 gallon, Water, 182 degrees Fahrenheit, more water may be needed
- Crumble 1/2 of the curd into a stainless bowl, pieces should be about a half inch to an inch in size. Sprinkle the curd with 4 heavy pinches of salt. Don't worry about over salting. Pour half the water over the curd and allow it to start relaxing. With a wooden spoon scoop the curd out of the water and allow it to slowly drip back into the hot water. As you repeat this again and again you will notice the cheese starting to become glossy and have long strands. At this point form the cheese into long pieces and place in cold water. Once the cheese has chilled slightly remove it from the water and from the top pull long strands off as thin as possible. Think of string cheese when doing this, which is the size of strands you are looking for. Put the pulled strands in the heavy cream. Once all the cheese is pulled into the cream season the mix with salt and black truffle oil. Mix thoroughly to combine. This is Stracciatella and is delicious eaten on its own. Crumble the remaining curd into another bowl and salt as before. Again cover with hot water and allow the curd to start relaxing.
- This time after stretching the cheese until glossy return the cheese to the warm water. Remove one end of the cheese and using your thumb and index finger squeeze the cheese into a ball about the size of a Ping pong ball pinching the ball off the larger mass. If you were to put that ball into chilled water you would have fresh mozzarella, which is also delicious and tastes completely different when made fresh. Return the ball to the water briefly (5seconds) to warm up. Remove the ball from the water and gently smash the ball into a circle about a half inch thick. Pinch the edges with your thumb, index, and middle fingers to slightly flatten then leaving a thicker center. Form a circle with your index finger and thumb by touching them tip to tip. Place the larger center of the cheese in the circle. Stuff the stracciatella (about 1/4 cup worth) into the center stretching the cheese as you stuff it. Fold the thinner outside parts together and pinch them closed. Dip the pinched part back into the hot water briefly to help seal it up. Gently place the fresh burrata into cold water.
For the Butter Braised Leeks:
- 4 each, Leeks, julienned crosswise and washed in cold water
- 1 pound, Butter
- 1 each, Bay Leaf, fresh
- 12 sprigs, Thyme, leaves pick off the stem
- 1/4 cup, Parsley, washed, dried, and julienned
- 1 each, Lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup, Benton's Country Ham, small dice
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper, fresh ground
- Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil (the water should taste and smell of the sea). Blanche the leeks for roughly 45 seconds to set the chlorophyll. Melt the butter over low medium heat (about number 4 on the stove dial). Add the bay leaf to the butter and a pinch of salt.
- Drain the leeks from the water and immediately put them in the melted butter. Braise the leeks on the same heat level for approximately 20 minutes or until the leeks are tender but still have a bit of crunch. Remove for the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain the leeks from the butter reserving both. Using some of the leek butter over medium high heat crisp up the diced ham. Once crisp strain the ham from the butter, discarding the butter. Reheat the leeks over medium heat adding some of the butter back to the pan along. Add the thyme, lemon juice (to taste), salt, and black pepper. Once heated finish by adding the parsley tossing to combine evenly. Garnish with the crispy ham.
- Hot butter braised leeks
- Crispy Benton's ham
- Fresh Burrata
- French Perigord truffles
- Maldon Sea Salt
Spoon the hot leeks into the center of a small bowl and gently spread around, be careful to not reach the edge of the bowl. With a sharp knife cut the burrata in half turning the cut side up so the liquid doesn't leak out. Garnish the leeks with the crispy ham. Place the burrata, cut side down, on to the leeks and sprinkle with the Maldon salt. Shave the truffles paper thin and garnish the dish with the slices.