Fresh Citrus and Fennel Bruschetta with Burrata

Citrus and Fennel Bruschetta with Burrata

Citrus and Fennel Bruschetta with Burrata

There are few things that go together as well as fennel and citrus.  The licorice-y bite of that fantastically frond'd bulb met its perfect match in the sweetness of an orange.  

This recipe, perfect for lunch, a light dinner, or served as a side, plays off of the fennel/orange affair with the welcome addition of tart grapefruit, fresh mint, subdued zucchini, and the musty sweetness of a syrupy balsamic reduction.

While Autumn is rearing its blustery head, this citrusy fennel bruschetta with creamy, oozy burrata is sure to invoke the summeriest of feelings.


Fresh Citrus and Fennel Bruschetta with Burrata

Serves 4 - 6

1/2 fennel bulb, including fronds
1 small green zucchini
1 small yellow zucchini
1 orange
1 grapefruit
3 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped or torn
3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped or torn
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Burrata*, tennis ball sized (1 if making enough for 4, 2 for 6 - or if you're a cheese lover like me)
4 - 6 thick slices of crusty fresh bread
1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
Balsamic reduction, store-bought or homemade (recipe follows)

*fresh mozzarella or feta will work wonderfully if you cannot find burrata

Using a knife, trim the top of the fennel off of the bulb, reserving the fronds for later use.
Using a mandoline or a vegetable peeler, very thinly slice the fennel bulb and place into a large bowl.
Continue this method with the two zucchinis, thinly slicing each and placing in the large bowl.
Once the vegetables are sliced, move on to supreming the citrus!
Using a knife, carefully trim off the very top and bottom of the orange and grapefruit.
Next, place the orange and grapefruit on their ends and begin to remove the peel and pith with your knife, beginning at the top and slicing down along the curve of each fruit.
Finally, over the large bowl containing the fennel and zucchini, carefully cut out each segment of the fruit by inserting the blade of your knife between the flesh of the fruit and the membrane on both sides of each segment.  The wedges of grapefruit and orange should pretty much fall off the membrane into your bowl.
Squeeze the juice out of the remaining membrane into the large bowl - this will serve as the acid in your dressing.
Toss the mint and parsley into the mix along with salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil and gently fold everything together.
While the citrus and veg get to know each other, lightly toast your bread and rub the garlic clove on the toast as soon as it is golden and delicious.  This will impart some garlic flavour without knocking your socks off.

To plate, place a toast on each dish and top with a good helping of the citrus/veg mixture.  Grab your burrata and carefully tear it into pieces, being careful not to let too much of the creamy goodness on the inside escape.  Finally, drizzle the bruschetta and plate with balsamic reduction and finish with a bit of salt and pepper.

Balsamic Reduction

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

In a small pot, combine the above ingredients and place over medium heat.
Cook until reduced by about half.
Use straight or store in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container.