Cheese the Day at OKC’s Best
Creamy Italian Burrata Will Add Some Pep In Your Step
Chef Amanda Jane Simcoe calls burrata “a little balloon full of deliciousness,” which may be the most accurate description of food ever. She explained it in technical terms, too, but a summary will probably suffice: It’s fresh mozzarella curds stretched and molded into the shape of a little bag. Fresh cream and curds are placed in the center, and then the bag is sealed. That “fresh cream” part was the death of any illusion that burrata is sort of healthy – like cottage cheese. The confusion is understandable since both feature loose curds, right?
“At that point, you should eat it with very good olive oil and fresh cracked pepper,” says Simcoe, who is also one of Oklahoma’s most respected cheese mongers. “I don’t adulterate my cheese with bread, but some people like it that way. I do like a little arugula with mine, though.”
Usually appearing on the appetizer section of a menu, burrata has popped up all over the metro, and the accompaniments are as varied as the venues that serve it. Pizzeria Gusto was one of the first local restaurants to offer burrata, and its version has remained unchanged (and delicious) since the day it opened – the dish features a puree of mushrooms and truffles with a drizzle of honey to create a savory, sweet, creamy bite. It’s also served with warm walnut bread, so you can decide how you feel about adulterating cheese for yourself.
Jimmy B’s serves burrata that verges on a riff on caprese, with a tomato medley, balsamic glaze and pesto. The highlight is the fresh, warm focaccia that accompanies the dish, but the tomatoes are distractingly delicious, too. Getting a bite that incorporates all the elements creates a very caprese-esque experience.
In keeping with its ethos of bold flavors and eye-popping colors, Frida serves a version of burrata that is unique in the city. Chiles are a point of emphasis for Chef Quinn Carroll; they are woven throughout Frida’s menu to build layers of flavor and impart a warm, spicy backbone to the cuisine. The burrata comes out floating in chili oil, with a drizzle of ancho truffle honey. The bread is sourdough, and the burrata is topped with prosciutto and finished with chimichurri. It offers bolder flavors than diners typically get in an entire meal, and it works beautifully.
Chef Kevin Lee at The Jones Assembly provides a very different take on the dish, serving it up as a pizza. The whole burrata is in the center of a pie that features fresh peaches from Harrah’s Wind Drift Orchard, Serrano ham, balsamic caramel, Parmesan and arugula. Again, it’s a collection of bold flavors (and a bold take) that works well as a complete dish.
Palo Santo has one of the simplest and most beautiful approaches. The burrata is served with charred bread, shredded tomatoes, brined green peppercorns and garlic. That’s it. It’s as straightforward and rustic as a dish gets, and it’s a dish that regulars order again and again because of its simplicity and flavor combinations.