I usually associate burrata with summer, but that's only because it goes so perfectly with ripe tomatoes and basil. It's available at any time of year though, so I changed my thinking about it after trying this warm, wintry broccoli salad. I've had the page with this dish marked in Sunday Suppers at Lucques since I first read the book, and I knew it was going to be good. How could it not be with blanched broccoli which happens to one of my favorite vegetables, creamy, fresh burrata, a warm vinaigrette with garlic, chiles, anchovies, lemon, and butter, and a crunchy, toasted breadcrumb and pine nut topping? This is a filling salad. So, if you're serving it as a first course, you'll want to follow it with something on the lighter side. Or, it also makes a great lunch all by itself. As usual with dishes from this book, there are a few steps involved, but the result is worth every bit of chopping and every dirty dish.
The first step is to toast the breadcrumbs and pine nuts, and the suggested procedure involved using two baking sheets to toast them separately. I tossed the breadcrumbs with some olive oil on one side of a big sheet pan, and let them get a head start in the warm oven. Then, I added the pine nuts to the other side of the same sheet pan, and toasted them in the oven for a few minutes while the breadcrumbs reached a good level of toastedness. Once removed from the oven and cool, half of the pine nuts were chopped, and they were combined with the whole pine nuts, the toasted breadcrumbs, some chopped parsley, and salt and pepper. I left all of that on the sheet pan to avoid using a bowl for the mixture. Next, broccoli was blanched and drained. I let mine drain in a colander rather than spreading it out on yet another sheet pan as was suggested. The warm vinaigrette was supposed to have been started in a saucepan and then finished in a saute pan. I skipped the saucepan and used the saute pan from start to finish. The recipe calls for seven tablespoons of olive oil and six tablespoons of butter which seemed like way too much of both to me. I used maybe three tablespoons of olive oil and two of butter. They were combined in the saute pan over low heat, and a minced anchovy and chopped dried red chile were added. Once the anchovy had melted into the oil and butter, minced garlic and thyme leaves were added followed by chopped shallots and lemon juice. The drained broccoli was then tossed in the warm vinaigrette in the saute pan. Last, the burrata was sliced and the salad was plated with the total number of pots and pans used reduced by one half.
This was a bit of a process even after simplifying a few steps, but because of the contrast of the fresh, cool, mild cheese with the robust flavors of the warm vinaigrette and broccoli, I wouldn't change anything else about it. Happily for me, burrata isn't just for summer anymore.