GRILLED LITTLE GEMS WITH BURRATA AND KUMQUATS

BURRATA IS MOZZARELLA WRAPPED AROUND MASCARPONE.  WHEN SUMMER TOMATOES ARE AT THEIR PEAK, FEW DISHES RIVAL A MEDLEY OF HEIRLOOMS PILLOWED WITH FRESH BURRATA, DRIZZLED WITH A PEPPERY OLIVE OIL AND SCATTERED WITH TORN BASIL.  BUT, AS I OFTEN SAY, “SUMMER’S LEASE HATH ALL TOO SHORT A DATE.”  WHAT IS IN SEASON, HOWEVER, ARE LITTLE GEM LETTUCES, PLUMP LITTLE SPEARS OF COMPACT, MINERAL-TASTING GREEN LEAVES.  IF YOU DRY THEM PROPERLY AND GRILL THEM IN A PAN, OVER A FIRE OR ON A GRIDDLE, YOU GET BOTH THE GREEN AND A PLEASANT CHAR.  THE DRESSING – ANCHOVIES, GARLIC, LEMON, AND OIL – IS REMINISCENT OF A CEASAR.  I WHIP THE BURRATA IN A BOWL SO THE MASCARPONE BLENDS WITH MOZZARELLA.  THE FINAL TOUCH, KUMQUATS, ADDS A SOUR/SWEET ACCENT TO GIVE YOU A SALAD WHICH COVERS MOST OF THE FLAVOR BASES — SOUR, SWEET, BITTER, SALTY, AND CREAMY.
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