Burrata is one of my favourite cheeses in the world. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s basically soft-centred mozzarella, and it is amazing. I’ve joked in the past about how my cooking style is just throwing burrata on top of things and hoping for the best, but this is one combination that really legitimately works. It’s also comically simple – the brevity of the ingredient list is borderline embarrassing.
The inspiration for the peppers comes from a 90s Mediterranean cookbook that my grandma gave to my mum and she still uses frequently. In my humble opinion, grilling and peeling off the skin as we do here is the best way of eating peppers. It releases the most amazing sweetness. You don’t even need dressing for this!
Serves 4 as a starter, 2 as a main.
500g peppers (red, yellow, and green – or whatever you have)
30g black olives, sliced
1/2 cup green lentils (uncooked)
15g pine nuts
200g burrata cheese
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional – chopped basil or parsley
1- Grill the peppers. Turn the grill on to high heat. Halve the peppers and remove the seeds and stalk, and place with skin facing up (as pictured) on an oiled roasting tray. Place under grill and cook until skin is blistering – about 10 minutes.
2- Once satisfactorily burnt, remove the peppers from the grill, place in a bowl and cover for ca. 15 minutes. Once cooled a bit, you can get to peeling the skin. Discard peeled skin and chop flesh into slithers.
3- Cook the lentils in ca. 1 cup of salted water or stock, adding more if necessary. Set aside.
4- Toast pine nuts in a small frying pan over low heat. If you are easily distracted like me, be sure to keep an eye on them because they burn very easily and they are EXPENSIVE!
5- Slice the olives into rounds.
6- Drain burrata.
7- Assemble! Basically, mix together peppers, lentils, and olives, top with burrata and pine nuts, then drizzle with olive oil. Serve at room temperature.
Serving Suggestions / Swaps / Tips
This is a lovely easy starter for ca. 4 people, mopped up with bread, or a main for two hungry individuals.
Lentils can be substituted for virtually any grain / pulse. I’ve made this with butter beans, farro, and risone in the past, all were excellent. I’ve also added roasted aubergine in the past. Pepper colour doesn’t really matter, but aesthetically, it looks good to have a mix! It’s also lovely to throw in some herbs – basil and parsley are good. If you’re unable to get burrata, buffalo mozzarella works too. Some tips for getting Italian ingredients in various locations can be found here – I know that Waitrose sells a very nice burrata in the U.K., Mercato Gourmet sells it in Hong Kong, and here in Lugano it’s available virtually everywhere.
I served this alongside a simple rucola and avocado salad with balsamic dressing. It’s great with bread too, or bulk it up with some more lentils / veggies.
Leftover rating: 2/3, you’re unlikely to have any leftovers but if you do they’ll make for a nice lunch. This can be made and assembled (minus the burrata and pine nuts which you should add just before serving) up to a day in advance.