A summer’s end starter


A summer starter recipe of creamy burrata, courgettes and peas
Photograph: Joe Woodhouse

This full-flavoured recipe delves into the veg patch’s sunniest corners to combine oversized courgettes and instantly evocative herbs with lusciously indulgent burrata. It’s a slice of late summer on a plate

This simple starter comprises some of my favourite late-summer ingredients – and everything can be made in advance (so it’s perfect for easy entertaining). Campania is the spiritual home of Mozzarella, but its more indulgent sibling, burrata, is from neighbouring Apulia. Local flavour combinations are often the best, so here we include Amalfi coast lemons. And, when it comes to wine matches, this should work in harmony with the whites of the region.

Burrata with courgettes, peas and lemon

  • 1 yellow courgette
  • 2 large courgettes
  • 2 cloves of garlic – smashed
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 small chilli – deseeded and finely chopped
  • Half a bunch of basil – picked
  • 1 lemon
  • Half a bunch of mint
  • 150g fresh peas – picked and blanched
  • 250g burrata
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil

Split the courgettes lengthways, and pan-fry the halves (cut-side down) in a good glug of olive oil, for two to three minutes, until nicely caramelised. Then add the smashed garlic, thyme and basil stalks and cook for a further two minutes. Turn the courgettes over and continue to cook until they’re just tender. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Place the peas in a bowl and season to taste. Mix in the zest of half a lemon and the chopped mint.

Finely slice the yellow courgette into thin rounds and place in a bowl. About five minutes before you are ready to serve, season with salt, pepper, a pinch of chopped chilli and a pinch of finely chopped garlic. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a good glug of extra virgin olive oil.

Drain the burrata, place in a colander and tear into large chunks, retaining any of the creamy liquid that comes from the cheese.

To serve, warm the courgette halves. The yellow courgettes should have wilted slightly, so drain off the liquid if there is any. Mix this with the liquid from the burrata and a good splash of oil to form a dressing. Place the warm courgette in the centre of a platter, scatter over the pea mix and the torn burrata, finish with the dressed courgette slices and some torn basil leaves, then spoon over the dressing.

What to drink – recommended wine pairing from Barbara Drew MW

For a fresh, citrussy summer match to this recipe, head straight to Italy and pour a glass of Roberto Sarotto’s Gavi di Gavi. Made from the Cortese grape, the tangy grapefruit pith flavours will pick out the fresh pea and herb flavours and cut through the richness of the cheese.

Alternatively, taking our cue from Head Chef, another classic pairing for this dish would be a Southern Italian white wine; one from Campania, such as the Fiano by Vigneti Tardis, would work well. A complex wine, with plenty of weight and a hint of creaminess, this will complement the burrata superbly – a match that is as much about texture as flavour.

Further afield, look for whites with a balance of fruit and lemony freshness – New World Sauvignon Blanc would be an excellent choice. Our own New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc by Isabel Estate has just the right mix of tropical and green fruit, and a pleasingly round mouthfeel to offset the mouthwatering acidity.