tomato and burrata brushetta
Would you believe that one of my most favorite Italian meals that I have ever had was in....Tokyo! It really is amazing the food scene in Japan. The pride that they have in anything they do is unbelievable. I have traveled several places including many in France and in Switzerland but still today, I would claim the absolute best croissant that I have ever tasted was also had at a patisserie in Tokyo. It's like they not only need to master whatever they are making, but then they need to go further and surpass it. The results are phenomenal.
Now, I will say one thing for this unforgettable Italian meal that I had in Tokyo. One of the places that I haven't been (yet), is Italy. One reason for this is that I want to be able to spend at least 3 weeks or more exploring to do it a bit of justice. So it's been put off for a bit and with the virus, it may be some time before I make it there. It will happen though - I have faith.
So back to this amazing meal. It was at a random train stop while we were in Japan...near a place where we were staying due to some training. When we stepped off the train, I don't know if we randomly picked a "Little Italy" of sorts or if this was just a place that was Italian inspired but everything from the roads to the building's architecture was all Italian inspired. From the brick paved paths to the wine barrel bars and outdoor seating to the restaurants, you were transported to another place. It might sound like it was cheesy and a bit hokey but it definitely wasn't...it was just magic in the evening. We stumbled across this small restaurant that had a line coming out the door. We had time so we went for it. Best decision ever!
We were lucky enough to get a table near the open kitchen so we got to see the team of Chef's prepare some of the meals. It was a show with dinner to see them work together like a well oiled machine. We ordered bruschetta and it may have been my most favorite thing that I ate from all of my time in Japan...that is saying A LOT because the food in Japan is to die for. Now, I know what you are thinking...what in the world?! It's bread, tomatoes, basil, cheese and some balsamic...all yummy but really?? The best meal? I thought about it a lot and I finally figured it out. It was the combination of all those things but it came down to the actual ingredients. The bread was baked on site and perfection. The tomatoes and basil were sweet, fresh and straight from a farm...not one blemish in sight. Very Japanese. The cheese was made from dairy that we can't find here - super rich and creamy. The balsamic glaze was something that I had never tasted before - aged and sweet and the perfect compliment to bring out all the flavors of everything else. They actually sold very small bottles of the balsamic glaze and I wish I could tell you I still have it, but 1) SUPER expensive and 2) it had no chance not being used before I moved back to the states!
I won't keep going on and on about it because it's making me hungry and making me want to go back there. I will say that ever since I had that bruschetta, I have been making it on the regular - sometimes for when I have company and sometimes just for a meal when I want to have some simple ingredients that all work marvelously together.
This basically doesn't even require a recipe. They are just beautiful ingredients arranged and devoured. The only cooking component is really just toasting the baguette but don't skip this step...it's completely worth it! I, of course, put mine in the air fryer for a few minutes and it was perfect.
Tomato, Basil & Burrata Brushetta
1 french baguette, sliced in 1/2 inch thickness
3 Tbsp olive oil, separated
1 garlic clove, minced finely
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in halves
6 to 8 fresh basil leaves
6 oz of fresh burrata cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
balsamic glaze, to drizzle on top
Preheat the air fryer at 400F for 5 minutes.
While it is preheating, in a small sauce pan, on low heat, heat up the olive oil and garlic until warm and the flavors meld together. Brush the baguette slices with the infused oil on each side. Take any leftover oil and toss with the tomatoes with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper until lightly coated. Set aside.
Put a single layer of bread in the air fryer basket. You will need to work in batches but it is quick. Cook at 400F for 2 to 3 minutes. Depending on your air fryer, it may be more or less time - just check on it after a minute or so. The bread should be toasted and brown.
Time to assemble! Put the burrata cheese in the middle of a platter, layer the toasted baguettes on one side and the tomatoes on the other side. Drizzle the cheese and tomatoes with some balsamic glaze and top with fresh basil.
Simple, classic and delish! Based on my love of cheese and bread, this makes enough for 2 servings. You could use this as a starter in place of a salad or as an appetizer. I just made myself the small platter above for a yummy meal while watching a movie and was completely satisfied.