Burrata with cherries and sumac make a delectable summer appetizer. The creamy cheese pairs perfectly with the sweet tart cherries and lemony sumac.
Happy July!! Isn't it crazy how half of 2021 is over already. This past weekend, we celebrated July 4th with family and friends after not sharing a meal with them for almost two years. Everyone was vaccinated except for the kids. For our al fresco gathering, I brought an appetizer of burrata with cherries and sumac, inspired by a recipe from Susan Spungen's cookbook Open Kitchen. The creamy burrata paired perfectly with the pickled cherries, heady basil, and lemony sumac. This starter straddles the line between savory and sweet.
- Cherries: I used Bing cherries which is sweeter compared to other varieties. They'll go into a quick pickle juice so you want the sweetness to stand up to sharp the vinegar taste. Pick deep red cherries that are firm to touch. If you can't find Bing cherries, Rainier cherries make a great alternative.
- Burrata: burrata cheese is essentially mozzarella cheese that’s been filled with cream. It is the richest, creamiest, and most decadent cheese and worthwhile to seek out specialty cheese stores for its high quality. The best tasting burratas have a firm and almost springy texture on the outside with a soft and creamy texture on the inside. If you can’t find burrata, soft unsalted mozzarella, preferably buffalo mozzarella, makes a good substitute.
- Sumac: sumac is a popular Middle Eastern spice with a dark red-burgundy color and similar smell and taste to lemon but is not as sour. If you can't find sumac, Aleppo pepper would work well with this appetizer and lend a nice gentle heat.
How to Pit Cherries
The hardest part of this recipe is pitting all the cherries. I simply halved the cherries with a sharp paring knife and used my fingers to remove the seeds. You can also use a cherry pitter which makes removing them a lot easier. Thekitchn shares three nifty ways to pit cherries if you don't own a pitter. Once the cherries are pitted, they go into a quick pickle juice for an hour.
I love pairing cheese with stone fruits and this appetizer of burrata with cherries and sumac will be on repeat until cherry season is over. It goes well with crackers and toasted sourdough or baguette. Spoon a little bit of creamy, oozy burrata on a cracker, top it with the lightly pickled cherries and heady basil and you're in for a treat!
Burrata with Cherries and Sumac
- 1 cup Bing cherries, halved and pitted
- 2 tbsps red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- a pinch of flaky sea salt
- 2 4-oz balls burrata cheese
- ¼ cup basil leaves
- 1 tsp sumac
- crackers, sourdough, or baguette for serving
- In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, water, sugar, and salt until combined.
- Add the pitted cherries to the vinegar mixture and let it chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Place burratas on a serving plate. Tear the cheeses open at the top so that some of the cream ooze out. Sprinkle the sumac over the cheeses.
- Scoop out the cherries with a slotted spoon and top the cherries around the cheeses.
- Garnish with basil leaves and a pinch of sea salt, drizzle with extra vinegar, and serve immediately with crackers or bread on the side.