I made this lovely salad the other day with some slices of pretty decent tomato (considering it’s winter) topped with a heap of burrata cheese. Burrata is a pillow of stretched fresh mozzarella with a soft center of cheese curds and cream. It’s phenomenal stuff, if perhaps a little hard to source. Use the best fresh mozzarella as a substitute.
I topped off the tomato and cheese with a little salad of wild arugula, a few torn basil leaves, and finely shaved fennel tossed with lemon juice and very good extra virgin olive oil. I added a little cracked pepper and some fleur de sel, naturally. I prettied up the plate with a little basil oil and balsamic sryup.
You can make pretty much any kind of herb oil by blanching a fistful of coarsely chopped fresh herbs in salted water for about ten seconds and then transferring them to an ice bath. Dry the blanched herbs very, very well and then whir in a blender on high with about a half-cup of vegetable oil until you have a gorgeous green puree. Allow the oil to sit for an hour and then strain slowly through cheesecloth or a very fine mesh strainer.
Make balsamic syrup by putting a half cup of decent balsamic vinegar with a tablespoon or two of sugar into a small pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until the balsamic vinegar reduces to a nice, syrupy consistency. It’ll take maybe twenty minutes. Let it cool and dress salads or cooked veggies or grilled meats or what have you!