Burrata…. nothing says soft, buttery, creamy, juicy, tasty, than a hand made, hand formed burrata cheese!
Burrata, a discovery of mine late in life. I never really knew what it was till my late forties. Having met my wife and going to Italy quite often, has definitely opened my food world. The next best thing that I would never say no to, is a panino, so why not combine the two with some other great ingredients. I think we are going to enjoy this lunch immensely, and even more so with this Burrata, Prosciutto and Spicy Eggplant Panino.
The inspiration for this panino and others that will be coming, came from a television show called “You Gotta Eat Here” Italy edition. Host Joe Catucci takes you on a journey of great restaurants, meeting great people serving wonderful food. P.S. if Joe ever wants to retire we are available, that is Nicoletta and I. Love this show, it makes us so hungry even after having lunch. The good thing is it inspires us to create new recipes and ideas. So I would say a win win situation all around.
In this particular episode, Joe was in Florence checking out Paninerie (Panino shops), showcasing the best of the best in panini ideas. Beautiful rustic bread and focaccia filled with prosciutto and mozzarella, mortadella, bresaola arugula and parmigiano, and all kinds or marvelous stuff. Well, Nicoletta and I were in a deep craving of a panino, preferably there in Florence if possible, but that not happening now, inspired us to create our own panino.
I had a wonderful experience in Rome while Nicoletta was with friends for a lunch. I was strolling around, doing some sightseeing and getting my bearings for the downtown Rome layout, avoiding getting lost and having to call Nicoletta for help. Well, as I was going in and out of side streets, I noticed a huge line up at this alimentari (grocery/market store). The line up mostly Italians ordering panini. I knew right there and then that I had found a jewel of a place and my lunch fate was decided. The panino was magnificent, the wait entertaining, listening to all that Italian chatter and chaotic impatience, an experience I will cherish greatly.
Burrata, Prosciutto & Spicy Eggplant Panino. Today’s Special.
A trip to the Italian Center Shop gives us the great ingredients for this panino. The line up of the ingredients, starting from bottom to top: a crusty sub bun rustic and crusty especially if warmed up a bit; the spread, a well known sandwich enhancer in these parts, red pepper sauce; some nice eggplant bought at the Old Strathcona Farmers Market nicely sauteed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and peperoncino; arugula straight from my parents garden; and back to ITC for the star of the show, some beautiful prosciutto, and that creamy soft burrata cheese.
Let’s get this bad boy together!
A good sharp knife is needed to slice this bread in half. With a butter knife spread the red pepper sauce, don’t be shy. The next layer is that soft spicy flavorful eggplant accompanied by the melt in your mouth salt cured prosciutto imported from Parma, Italy, and again don’t be shy about the quantity. That wonderful burrata to top the prosciutto, and then the arugula. You might notice that there were some holes in the arugula, our garden critters got to the arugula a bit and as I am an equal opportunity employer, the critters live on and Nicoletta and I wash vigorously the arugula, lol. Top the arugula with some nice extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, salt and pepper. Slap the top of the bun on. Wrap it in some paper and open wide and get ready for the flavor explosion.
The crumbs falling to the ground from the crusty surface of the bun and in comes that nice billowy bread inside with the red pepper sauce coming in out of the bread work. The eggplant softly butter-like texture, spicy but no too spicy. The prosciutto sneaking in there with that sweet ‘n salty thing, then the burrata, creamy, soft, milky sensations hit with the peppery notes in the arugula. That crude olive oil giving some earthiness to this homegrown arugula.
This panino is amazing bite after bite until the very sad end when it is gone. Panini are great options for meals: quick, easy, and super uber delicious. A fan favorite in our household.
P.S. Stay tuned, this Panini inspiration lives on in a few other combinations we have created for future posts. I think you will enjoy these also.
Song of the day: “You’re gonna miss me” Lulu and the Lampshades.
Note to the reader: panino (italian noun, singular); panini (italian noun, plural).Print
- 1 rustic crusty torpedo bun
- 2 tbsp store bought red peppers sauce spread
- 4 thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma slices
- 1 medium burrata cheese
- 1/2 cup arugula washed and spun dry
- 1 small eggplant
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- Wash and dice eggplant into nice small bite size pieces.
- In a saute pan heat up 2 tablespoon olive oil.
- Toss in chili flakes.
- Drop in eggplant and season with salt and pepper.
- Saute till eggplant is soft and a bit mushy, adding a bit of water to steam out the eggplant juices. Set aside.
- Cut torpedo bun in half lengthwise and heat in a 350° F oven for 5 minutes.
- Take out of oven.
- Spread the red pepper sauce on both sides of the bread.
- Spread a layer of eggplant next.
- Place the prosciutto on the bottom half of bread and sauce and eggplant.
- Cut burrata into thin to medium slices and top with prosciutto.
- Place arugula on top of burrata and drizzle some olive oil on to it.
- Sprinkle with some crushed sea salt and black pepper.
- Top with bun.
- Wrap in paper.
- Ready to serve.
And here’s another good panino from an older post:
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