I really wanted to show you a big oozy ball of burrata and these black tomatoes I found at Borough Market yesterday, probably topped in some fried basil something, and then write about how I booked my flight home to Sydney and how I just can't wait for summer.
But the tomatoes were under ripe, someone used all my olive oil and I forgot to buy basil.
And then I remembered my generous chef friends gave me a fat stash of shiso leaves and I still had a tonne of walnuts from a(nother) failed baking attempt and decided a shiso walnut pesto was the way to go. And it was. It's lovely and peppery and crushed pink peppercorns are a bright addition to that lush little ball of mozzarella, cream and happiness.
This recipe lies somewhere between a pesto and a herb oil. Shiso, also called Perilla, which you'll do doubt recognise as the leafy garnish you sometimes get with sushi, can be quite strong, so as to not over power the delicate flavour of the burrata, this "pesto" is thinned out with quite a bit more oil. you can always up the quantity of the leaves if you want more flavour. The pink pepper is sweet and floral and absolutely essential to this recipe, you can use it in loads of recipes so it's definitely worth keeping some in you spice rack. Burrata is best served room temperature-ish, I like it on the cooler side of room temperature. This recipe is so easy and totally worth hunting down the shiso, if you cant find any, you could try asking a Japanese restaurant next time you order sushi.
2 or 3 Shiso leaves
1/4-1/2 cup walnut oil
1tbs yuzu juice or lemon juice
Small handful of walnuts, lightly toasted
Pink peppercorns, crushed
Sourdough, ciabatta or flat bread
The easy bit
Lightly scrunch the leaves in your hand (helps get the oils out) roll into a cigar shape and mince finely with a sharp knife.
Put the chopped leaves in a pestle and mortar add the your toasted walnuts (set a few aside, and crush or chop into chunks) and a pinch of sea salt and bash it up to crush the nuts into small chunks and mash the flavours together. You don't want a paste, keep the nuts course for texture. Whisk in the yuzu (or lemon) and walnut oil until you reach your desired consistency.
Split the skin of the burrata and open it up. Spoon the pesto all over it, sprinkle the last of the crushed walnut, the crushed pepper and perhaps an additional sprinkle of sea salt. It's lovely with some warm toast or flat bread (and I bet its also lovely over fish too.)