Thursday, July 25, 2013

Grilled Apricots, Burrata and Arugula Salad

Recently, I had the honor and privilege of cooking a multiple course dinner for my parents.  I wanted to prepare a three course meal focused upon the grill.  The three courses were a salad, an appetizer and a main course.  Moreover, I decided that I would strive to obtain all of the ingredients from the West Side Market in Cleveland, Ohio.  The combination of really fresh ingredients, the grill, and the opportunity to cook for my parents motivated me to create a great dining experience.

For the salad, I decided to go with a fruit that is in season ... apricots.  I found a recipe that combined grilled apricots with some of my favorite ingredients, such as burrata cheese and arugula.  The recipe also called for the use of radicchio, which, unlike the apricots, was not in season.  (Radicchio is a late winter, early spring vegetable, while apricots are an early summer fruit.) Given it was out of season, I had to get the radicchio from a local grocery store.  Finally, the recipe calls for the use of "country ham."  I omitted that ingredient from the salad because my beautiful Angel does not like to eat ham.  However, if you want to include it, use about 1/3 to 1/2 of a pound of prosciutto or iberico ham, rather than "country ham."  Personally, I would use prosciutto, because the use of arugula, burrata and radicchio (along with the balsamic vinegar) clearly suggests an Italian influence to this dish.

Overall, this dish is very delicious.  The grilling of the apricots softened them just a little, contributing a sweetness that, with the balsamic vinegar, offsets the tartness of the radicchio and the pepper of the arugula.  The burrata cheese added a luxuriousness to the dish that helped to elevate the dish.

Finally, I want to thank my beautiful Angel, Clare, who helped with the preparation of this dish while I frantically worked on the other course.  Together, we make a great cooking team!

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine
Serves 8

1 1/4 pounds apricots, halved and pitted
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 small head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
5 ounces baby arugula
1/2 pound of burrata cheese, shredded or cubed
1 tablespoon, aged balsamic vinegar
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces shaved country ham or proscuitto

1.  Grill the apricots.  Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the apricots with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, cut sides down, just until lightly charred, 5 minutes. Let cool.

2.  Make the salad.  In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the 1/4 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss in the apricots, radicchio and arugula. Transfer to a platter and top with the burrata, ham and vinegar. Serve immediately. 


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