A summer staple here in France is tomates mozza, a very simple, rustic tomato and mozzarella salad. I don’t know when or how this trend started, but as soon as it gets hot outside, this is THE dish served across France. All of a sudden, the selection of mozzarella and burrata in supermarkets triples and commercials feature smiling families passing large platters with red tomatoes and gooey mozzarella.
This is one trend I do not mind – simple, quick to throw together and lets delicious summer tomatoes shine. I serve tomates mozza with a simple pesto sauce at least twice a week for lunch during vacation – my father-in-law would eat it every day if I would let him!
This recipe is my dressed-up version of the iconic tomates mozza. I like to serve this variation as a starter course for guests or on its own as a tasty lunch. It is not difficult to make, looks pretty and the crunch on the burrata (or mozzarella if you can’t get small burrata balls) adds a nice texture and flavor to the classic salad. You can assemble the plates with the oil and sliced tomatoes ahead of time, but the burrata should be pan-fried just before serving.
Crispy Burrata with Tomatoes and Basil Infused Olive Oil
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 4 minutes
4 small balls of burrata or mozzarella (2 ounces, 100 g)
2 large, ripe heirloom tomatoes, cut into thick discs
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil leaves
1 cup (70 g) Panko
1 cup (150 g) flour
1-liter (a little more than 4 cups) vegetable oil for frying
1 cup (240 ml) basil infused olive oil (or regular olive oil)
2 tablespoons julienned basil leaves
Set up 3 shallow bowls and one plate. In the first bowl, place the cup of flour. In the second, whisk the two eggs. In the third bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon of finely chopped basil, 1 cup of Panko, 1 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of ground black pepper.
Take a ball of burrata, dip it in the flour, rolling to coat lightly. Then do the same in the whisked eggs. Again in the flour and once again in the egg. Then roll it in the Panko mixture until it is evenly coated and place on the plate. Repeat for the three other balls of burrata. Put the plate of coated burrata balls in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Pour the vegetable oil in a medium sized saucepan. Turn the heat on high and let heat for 10 minutes. If you have a thermometer, the oil should reach 355° F (180° C).
Take the burrata balls out of the freezer. Line a plate with paper towels. Fry the burrata balls one at a time in the oil; about 30 seconds on each side or until the panko turns golden brown. If it smokes or blackens, the oil is too hot and you need to turn down the heat. Using a slotted spoon, take the balls out of the oil and place on the paper towel-lined plate.
To serve, pour ¼ cup (60 ml) of the basil infused oil in 4 deep plates or shallow soup bowls. Place 2 or 3 slices of tomatoes on the oil and place a ball of burrata on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the julienned basil leaves and some freshly ground black pepper. Serve with crusty baguette.
And bon appétit!