Thursday, July 10, 2014

Herbed Burrata with Maple Roasted Mushrooms + Eggplant

I am an impatient person; it is the bane of my existence. I've learned to control it a touch more since becoming a parent, but still, it is a problem that I've dealt with most of my life and will probably continue to deal with until forever. And so every June when it is almost summer but not actually summer, I convince myself that it is most definitely time to start loading our market hauls with summer produce. And every year, without fail, I kick myself for not waiting the few extra weeks it takes for the absolute best tomatoes, stone fruit, eggplant, etc. This year was, of course, no different.

I love eggplant. I mean, I LOOOVE it and I want to marry it. It is the only vegetable I long for year round, and I anxiously await its arrival in the same way a kid anxiously waits for that last bell to ring before the start of summer break. Once its peak comes, I want to put it in just about anything you can imagine. I want to grill it, roast it, toss it with pastas and grains, stack it on crostini, use it in soups, you name it. Although I cherish its versatility, I'm also always taken aback by how perfect it is on its own without any bells or whistles. I don't mean to get all existential on you, but if there is a God, the creation of eggplant, not beer, is proof that he loves us and wants us to be happy. 

Back to my lack of patience. I made this dish a good three weeks ago and although it was overall great, the eggplant was a little lackluster, so I figured I'd hold off a bit before posting it. We brought some Chinese eggplant home this past Monday and it was superb; summer produce has officially arrived. You could really sub any summer veggies in this recipe and end up with splendid results. Make sure to use top-notch burrata, though. I could wax poetic about how burrata should only be eaten in Italy just as lobster should only be eaten in New England, but at this rate I'm getting to New England about 10x more often than I'm getting to Italy, so something's got to give. If you can, try and pick some up from a local cheesemonger or gourmet shop.

Herbed Burrata with Maple Roasted Mushrooms + Eggplant

1 ball of burrata, drained of its storing liquid
1 medium eggplant, cubed
1/2 red or yellow onion, cubed
6-8 cremini mushrooms, quartered 
olive oil
1 tbsp. of maple syrup
1 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar 
1 tsp. each of chopped basil, mint, and parsley
salt + pepper

Preheat your oven to 400. Toss your vegetables with some olive oil, the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Line on a pan and roast until caramelized (mine took about 30 minutes). Once cooked, serve in a bowl alongside your burrata. Top the cheese with your chopped herbs, and finish the entire dish with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Serve with some crostini or on its own. 

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