I made this starter up based on a number of things I like. This is by no means traditional – it seems to cross over multiple cuisines – North African, Italian and South American to name a few. I love it for this reason, and because it is so well balanced. The rich, slightly spicy and earthy harissa jam contrasts the bright, herbaceous flavours of the salsa verde, and the creamy burrata rounds the whole thing off nicely. This works really well as a starter for a dinner party, and the vast majority of it can be prepped well in advance.
Ingredients (serves 4 as a starter):
- For the harissa red onion jam
- 2 large red onions (or 3 or 4 small ones)
- 2 tbsp rose harissa paste
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 Ciabatta loaf, slightly stale (other breads e.g. sourdough would work fine also)
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 ball of burrata or very fresh mozzarella
- Handful of walnuts (or hazelnuts/almonds), chopped
- For the salsa verde
- 1 small bunch of coriander
- 1 small bunch of Parsely
- Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Thinly slice the onions. Pour a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan with a lid on a medium low heat. Cook the onions in the pan with a pinch of salt with the lid on, stirring often, for 20-25 mins. Do not let the onions colour. About 5 minutes in, add the harissa and brown sugar. About 10 minutes from the end of cooking, add the red wine vinegar. The final consistency should look slightly like a jam/marmalade.
- Finely chop the parsley and coriander. Add the herbs to a bowl along with the lemon zest and juice. Pour in olive oil and mix together. You can add a splash of water to adjust the consistency. Season well, to taste (you can add more lemon juice or zest, red wine vinegar or even some honey if it needs sweetening). Mix well and set aside.
- Heat up a griddle pan to a medium high heat. Slice the ciabatta diagonally into 2cm slices. Drizzle each slice with olive oil on each side, and season each side with salt and pepper. Rub well to cover, and place onto the griddle pan. Cook until there are dark brown (but not black) char marks, then flip the slices and repeat. Once the bread is toasted, slice a garlic clove in half, and rub the chopped part onto the bread. Repeat for all the slices.
- Rip up the ball of burrata into small pieces.
- To serve, take a slice of toasted bread, and spread the harissa jam on top. Top with a piece/spoonful of burrata, some salsa verde and a sprinkling of the walnuts. Repeat for each slice, and serve on a platter.
As always, if you do make this one yourselves, please let me know on @OTCooks_Eats on Instagram. Always love hearing from people.