Diane Rossen Worthington

 

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 ingredients that are added as a seasonal addition.

Once 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. To drink? I like a California chardonnay or a full-bodied rose. Don’t forget to serve this dish with some crusty French bread.

– Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.