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Dining In 2 minutes 29 July 2019

Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Salad With Home-made Burrata

At Bib Gourmand establishment Bar-Roque Grill, chef Stephane Istel makes his own cheeses from goat’s and cow’s milk sourced right here in Singapore.

cheese recipe

Despite the drama and the extravagance its name is associated with, the fare at Bib Gourmand establishment Bar-Roque Grill is decidedly homely and rustic, inspired by chef-partner Stephane Istel’s memories of growing up in Alsace in France. “I’m always interested to do more things from scratch, go deeper into my roots,” he says.
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To that end, the chef has been making his own terrines and pâté in-house, and curing salmon in an outdoor smoker. Last year, he introduced a customised fridge where he dry-ages beef. To up the ante, last month, he began curing his own saucisson, salami and chorizo, and ageing French cheeses for Bar-Roque’s charcuterie platters.

“I used to visit my uncle’s farm every summer where he reared cows and would make his own cheeses from the milk they produced,” shares the chef. “I would drink the milk fresh and warm from the cow, and it had this particular taste which was amazing. And I was able to find that taste again at Viknesh Dairy Farm in Singapore.”
The find sparked his foray into making fresh cheeses from goats’ and cows’ milk sourced locally in Singapore, which he serves up in various dishes on the menu: grilled haloumi bulks up a falafel and eggplant salad, while creamy home-made burrata ties in the zesty, punchy flavours of an heirloom tomato salad with white balsamic vinegar.
French cheeses aged in-house at Bar-Roque (Pic: Bar-Roque Grill)
French cheeses aged in-house at Bar-Roque (Pic: Bar-Roque Grill)
Here, Istel shares his recipe for a colourful heirloom tomato salad that you can easily make ahead for a dinner party with store-bought burrata. But with a little more time and effort, you can brag about making your own burrata from scratch as well. Burrata is a fresh cow milk cheese with an outer shell of solid mozzarella and a filling of soft stringy curd (called stracciatella) and cream. The chef breaks down the process into simple steps, with whole pasteurised milk that you can buy at the supermarket as well as citric acid and rennet, which can be purchased online.

“It’s easy to buy something, cut it up and put it on a plate, but the feeling that you have when you do everything from scratch is irreplaceable,” says the chef. “Now there’s a story behind your food.”
(Pic: MICHELIN Guide Digital)
(Pic: MICHELIN Guide Digital)

Home-made Burrata
Yields about two large 250g balls

2 tsp citric acid
40ml spring water
1 gallon (about 3.8 litres) whole pasteurised milk
½ tbsp of rennet liquid
½ cup heavy cream, more as needed
Kosher salt

Method:
1. Dissolve the citric acid in 30ml cool spring water. Pour the milk into a heavy stainless-steel pot and let stand 15 minutes. Add the citric acid solution while stirring. Over medium heat, warm the milk to 33-36°C, stirring frequently.
2. Dissolve the rennet in 10ml of cool spring water. Remove the milk from the heat, add the rennet solution and stir lightly twice. Let the milk sit for 12 minutes. At this time, the curds will begin to form like tofu. Cut the curd into 2cm cubes in the pot.
3. Return the pot to medium-low heat and continually stir the curd for about 5 minutes until the temperature reaches 48°C.
4. Place a colander in the sink and spoon the cooked curds into the colander and strain the curds well.
5. To make the stracciatella filling, spoon a quarter of the curds into a small bowl and add the heavy cream and a pinch of salt, combining the mixture with your fingers. Set aside.
6. Heat a large pot of water to 80°C and fill another large bowl with iced water.
7. Transfer the remaining curds to a large bowl. Work 2 tablespoons of kosher salt into the curds using your fingers.
8. Ladle or pour the hot water gently into the bowl around the curds until they are submerged. Let sit for 1 to 1½ minutes.
9. With your hands, gather half of the curds into a ball, lift it from the bowl and let it stretch back into the water. Continue to stretch until the mozzarella is shiny and elastic.
10. Form the stretched mozzarella into discs about 12-15cm in diameter and about 0.6cm thick. Place the disc in the palm of your hand, then carefully spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the stracciatella filling into the centre. Twist the ball to seal. Place the burrata ball into the ice bath and let it cool for about 5 to 6 minutes until firm.
11. Repeat the process with the remaining curds, stretching and filling with the remaining stracciatella filing.
12. Serve the burrata immediately, or enclose it in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve within 48 hours.

Heirloom Tomato Salad With Home-made Burrata
Serves 4-6

1kg colourful heirloom tomatoes
2 balls of burrata
2 shallots
50ml white balsamic vinegar
150ml extra virgin olive oil
50g basil leaves, chopped
Fleur de sel and black pepper to taste
Cured ham or smoked duck prosciutto (optional)

Method:
1. Cut the tomatoes into 2cm cubes and place them in a mixing bowl with the chopped shallots and sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste.
2. Drizzle on the extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
3. Remove from refrigerator and place burrata balls on top.
4. To serve, top with cured ham or smoked duck prosciutto and garnish with chopped basil just before serving.

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