Hi everyone! I hope you had a wonderful and safe 4th of July! It was a beautiful weekend here in Seattle. I ate lots of food, drank lots of drinks and watched fireworks from my roof. I’d call that a pretty successful Holiday!
These past couple weeks I haven’t been able to get basil off my mind…..or out of my food processor. I guess it all started with my recent trip to New England. Because there I found myself surrounded by rows and rows of the green leafy stuff in my families hydroponic greenhouse (you can see some photos above). So in an effort to keep my vacation fresh in my mind, I’ve been making lots of basil pesto and playing with new and fun ways to use it in recipes. Let me show you.
You know those monstrous cheese balls that are often lurking on party platters. Well, this is not like that at all. This is burrata. It’s like the Julia Roberts of cheese balls. Classy, elegant, smart. And you’d be thrilled if it showed up at one of your parties. Yes, this is like that. My apologies to Julia (that’s right, we’re on a first name basis) for using her in a comparison involving cheese.
But while burrata cheese IS amazing on it’s own, pairing it with grilled apricots, a drizzle of honey, basil pesto and grilled bread takes it to a whole new level. If you’re a fan of traditional caprese salads, then I suggest you try this out. It’s like a caprese salad on steroids. It’s savory, sweet and oh so summery. It’s a great salad, appetizer or snack for sharing with friends and family.
The recipe below makes more pesto than you’ll need for this salad. Use it for pasta, as a sandwich spread or freeze it for later!
- For the Basil Pesto
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 cups basil leaves, tightly packed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
- For the Salad
- 4 apricots, cut in half and pit removed
- 4 tsp. honey, divided
- 8-12 slices rustic bread
- 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup arugula
- 1 (8 ounce) ball burrata cheese, drained
- Make the basil pesto. In a small dry skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium-high heat until they are just fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let them cool. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the toasted pine nuts to be used later on the salad. In the bowl of your food processor with the blade attachment, combine the remaining toasted pine nuts, garlic cloves, basil leaves, lemon juice and salt until the basil leaves are finely chopped. With the food processor running, pour the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube. Pulse in the Parmesan cheese. Transfer the pesto to an airtight container and store in your refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
- Grill the apricots and your bread. Pre-heat your grill to medium-high. Lightly oil the grill racks. Drizzle the cut sides of the apricots with a little honey (I probably used about 2 tsp. total). Brush both sides of the bread with a little extra-virgin olive oil. Place the apricots (cut side down) and the bread on your grill and cook until you achieve nice grill marks. For the bread, this just takes about 1 minute per side. The apricots take a little longer and I only grilled the cut side. Remove from the grill and set aside.
- Assemble the salad. Spread the arugula in the center of a large plate or serving platter. Place the burrata cheese on top of the arugula. Arrange the grilled apricots around the burrata. Drizzle the remaining honey and a couple tablespoons of the basil pesto over everything. Top with the reserved toasted pine nuts. Serve with the grilled bread.
1. Any other stone fruit (nectarines, peaches, etc.) would be great in place of the apricots. You may want to cook them a bit longer, to compensate for their larger size.