There are recipes you make and know instantly you’ll make again. Maybe not always the same way; maybe it’s just part of the recipe you’ll repeat. Still, something about the recipe changes the way you cook in some little way. I had that experience a few weeks ago when I opened the cookbook Ruffage and made Abra Beren’s Massaged Kale with Tomatoes, Creamed Mozzarella, and Wild Rice.
It was the creamed mozz that got me. I am no stranger to the concept of adding cups of cream and fistfuls of cheese to vegetables. But adding cream to cheese was new to me. I had never thought to make dairy richer by simply doubling down.
Berens’s creamed mozzarella is simple: you tear the mozzarella and toss it with sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Just like that, regular mozz—which I think we can all finally admit can be rubbery and dry and a little like eating slices of a softball—is transformed into something decadent and luscious and something much more like mozzarella’s cousin burrata.
The resemblance to burrata is no accident. Berens created this salad for one of the farm dinners she cooks at Michigan’s Granor Farm, where she is the chef. It happened to be a night when she had no burrata on hand.
“There are so many times where I’ve lived in places where I don’t have access to fancier foods,” Berens told me recently on the phone. It’s a fact that sometimes forces her to be inventive with her food. So when she found herself with mozzarella that had to be used—but also found herself completely bored by the prospect of kale with plain mozzarella—she got creative with what she had in the fridge. “There’s always some dredge of cream or sour cream around,” she said.
A room-temperature salad of massaged greens and cooked grains is a good place for the faux-burrata to live; the creamed mozzarella “doesn’t hold its integrity when hot,” Berens said. Still, there are many other places she can think to use it: a room-temp pasta with roasted tomatoes and greens, or on a cheese plate—anything you’re serving on a big platter or in a big bowl, so that the creamed mozzarella can be placed gingerly on top.
I will be doing that a lot this summer. Maybe on platters of grilled summer squash, or alongside marinated red peppers. And I guarantee you that at least once I’ll eat it all on its own, with some herbs tossed on top and some crackers, or a grilled chunk of ciabatta, on the side. Burrata who?Abra Berens
Originally Appeared on Epicurious