Snack on burrata cheese with grilled figs

Susan Selasky
Detroit Free Press (TNS)

Last year, I revealed that I was in love with burrata cheese. I am happy to report that my love affair continues.

While burrata is pricey, it’s well worth it. You can find burrata at specialty cheese shops and most specialty grocers. BelGioioso is a domestic brand of burrata found at many grocery stores. An 8-ounce container with one ball of burrata is about $8.

Burrata cheese is beloved by many for its mild flavor and creamy, rich center.

While burrata is good on its own with bread, I am constantly on the lookout for new ways to serve it. Fresh fruit season makes it all the easier. The creaminess pairs well with any stone fruit (think peaches, plums) as well as melons and berries.

Figs: For today’s recipe, I chose fresh figs and red grapes based on a recipe I glanced at in LCBO’s Food & Drink Magazine. Fresh figs are sometimes hard to come by, but they are so delicious. I love figs’ sweet flavor and slightly chewy flesh and soft skin. You’ll find fresh figs typically during the summer through October.

There are several fig varieties from green-skinned to purplish-black. The latter is so noted for its dark color and great nutritional value. The darker the fruit (or vegetable), the higher the nutrients. Nutrition-wise, figs are a good source of fiber. They also have a good amount of potassium, known to help control insulin, heart health and lower blood pressure. The darker, purple varieties have a high concentration of antioxidants that help ward off certain diseases.

Fresh figs are highly perishable. You can typically keep them at least three days in the refrigerator.

Grilling: When grilling figs, don’t put them on scorching hot grill grates. Medium-low is best to prevent their natural sugars from burning. Figure right around 300 degrees if your grill has a temperature gauge. Make sure you oil the grates well to prevent the fruit from sticking.

This recipe works great as an appetizer. While the toasted baguette slices are listed as optional, I highly recommend it. You can make these up for your guests or let them spread the burrata on the bread slices and top it with the fruit. Either way, it’s one fancy appetizer your guests will swoon over. You can also serve it as a dessert, as the original version recommended.

Burrata With Grilled Figs and Red Grapes

Serves: 6 (as an appetizer)

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

1 to 2 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil

6 ripe fresh black mission figs, cut in half

6 to 8 ounces red seedless grapes

Generous pinch of sea salt

8 ounces burrata, at room temperature

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, optional

Toasted or grilled baguette slices, optional

Preheat the grill to medium. Once heated, oil the grates well with a grapeseed or vegetable oil.

Place the figs on a plate and brush the cut side with some olive or grapeseed oil. Place the grapes, keeping the bunch together if possible, on a piece of foil. Drizzle them with some of the oil. (If you have a perforated grill pan, you can use it for the grapes.)

Season the figs and grapes with a few generous pinches of salt. Place the figs on the grill, cut side down; place the foil with the grapes on the grill. Grill figs about 3-4 minutes or until you get nice grill marks on the cut side. Turn over and grill just a few minutes more until soft. Grill the grapes the same amount of time.

Remove fruit from the grill. When cool enough to handle, cut each fig half in half.

Place cheese in the middle of your serving dish and surround with the warm fruit. Drizzle all with honey and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Serve with baguette slices.

You can also plate this appetizer by placing some cheese on the baguette slice and topping with the fruit. Drizzle with the honey and sprinkle with the thyme leaves.

Adapted from LCBO’s Food & Drink Magazine, summer 2016. Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Nutrition information not available.