I have been waiting to post this dish ever since I watched Rick Stein’s Road to Mexico last year. It’s a little premature for asparagus season but that will come in a few weeks. In one episode he stopped in LA and had a dish of Burrata with Asparagus and Guanciale. The recipe in his book however is different to this so I decided to improvise. Guanciale is a type of cured pork made from pig cheek. It’s not something you see too often here unless you visit a specialist deli. I decided to make this with pancetta instead, you can use smoked streaky bacon. Or leave the meat off to make it vegetarian.
I have prattled on about my love of burrata before. It is a very indulgent cheese, in face it’s almost pure cream. If you’ve never eaten it, it is like a ball of mozzarella filled with cream. This Burrata with Asparagus and Pancetta is quite indulgent. As well as the creamy cheese and bacon, I’ve served it with a brown butter sauce. Himself found it too rich, if you think it sounds too much, try serving it with a light balsamic dressing instead.
Useful tips & links:
- Burrata is not always easy to find. A good Italian deli should stock it. I am lucky enough to get mine in the English Market from the Real Olive Co. stall but if you can’t get it a good quality mozzarella will work too.
- I use lemon juice in the brown butter sauce to cut through the richness of the dish. A little hint of chilli would be a nice addition too.
- For more ideas on using burrata have a look here at more of my recipes or see Ellen Lunney’s beautiful Burrata and Grilled Fennel Asparagus Antipasti.
Burrata with Asparagus and Pancetta
- 200g ball of burrata cheese
- A small bunch of asparagus, approx. 125g, tough ends removed
- 50g of pancetta or smoked streaky bacon
- 20g of blanched hazelnuts
- 25g of unsalted butter
- The juice of ½ a lemon
- Black pepper
- Have your cheese at room temperature before serving this, fridge cold cheese is never a great idea.
- Cook the pancetta or bacon either under a grill or on a dry frying or griddle pan. I use a griddle pan and then cook the asparagus in the same pan.
- While the bacon is cooking heat a dry pan over a medium heat and gently toast the hazelnuts. Once they are golden brown roughly chop them up and set them to one side.
- Drain the cooked bacon on some kitchen paper and pour off most of the fat from the pan. Put the frying pan or griddle pan back onto the heat and cook the asparagus in the remaining bacon fat for a couple of minutes on both sides until it is just cooked but still has a little bite.
- Using the pan that you toasted the hazelnuts in, melt the butter and keep it over a medium heat until it starts to brown slightly and smell nutty. Squeeze in the lemon juice and swirl to combine. Take it off the heat before the butter catches and burns.
- Arrange the warm asparagus and bacon on a plate and tear open the burrata and place that on top. Pour over the brown butter lemon sauce and top with the crunchy hazelnuts. Season with a little freshly ground black pepper, it should not need any salt due to the bacon.
- Serve the Burrata with Asparagus and Pancetta immediately.