Pickled pumpkin with burrata

Pickled pumpkin with burrata

By
From
My Favourite Ingredients
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

This pairing of sweet, sharp pickled pumpkin slices with burrata – a gentle, creamy, rich, cow’s milk mozzarella from Puglia in Italy – makes a delectable first course. You’ll have more pickled pumpkin than you need here, but it is worth making a reasonable quantity because it is lovely with so many things. Try it with slow-cooked veal; or smoked eel topped with a dollop of crème fraîche, laced with grated horseradish; or chopped and tossed through a salad of lentils and warm chorizo.

Pickled pumpkin

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 small flavourful pumpkin, or onion or butternut squash, about 1.5-2kg
220g caster sugar
200ml good-quality red wine vinegar
1 bottle verjuice or white wine, (750ml)
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
small bunch lemon thyme, (or regular thyme)
1 red chilli

Salad

Quantity Ingredient
small bunch marjoram or oregano, leaves only
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
few drops lemon juice
50-60ml extra virgin olive oil
12 slices pickled pumpkin
8 see method for ingredients
1 burrata or buffalo mozzarella
4 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar

Method

  1. For the pickled pumpkin, put all the ingredients except the pumpkin into a heavy-based wide pan. Place over a low heat to allow the sugar to dissolve, stirring once or twice, then turn up the heat slightly to encourage the flavours to merge and get to know one another. Meanwhile, cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds, but leave the skin on. Slice the pumpkin into long fine wedges – the slices need to be thin to allow the sweet pickling flavour to permeate right through.
  2. Place the pumpkin slices in the simmering pickling liquid. Turn the heat down as low as possible and poach very gently for 45 minutes until the pumpkin is tender to the bite – it should taste sweet and sour. Allow to cool in the syrup, then lift out the pickled pumpkin slices and pack into sterilised jars. Strain the pickling liquor and pour over the pumpkin. Seal and store in a cool dark place or the fridge – it will last a good few weeks.
  3. For the salad, using a pestle and mortar, gently pound the herb leaves with a small pinch of salt to a rough paste. Sprinkle over the lemon juice, add the extra virgin olive oil and stir well to combine. Taste the dressing for seasoning, adding a little pepper.
  4. Arrange the pumpkin slices and slow-roasted tomatoes on serving plates and spoon the burrata or tear the mozzarella on top. Drizzle the herb dressing over the salad and around the plate. Trickle over the balsamic vinegar and serve.
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