Heirloom tomatoes with burrata cheese and basil oil recipe

Burrata cheese balls with heirloom tomatoes and basil oil.
Burrata cheese balls with heirloom tomatoes and basil oil. Photo: Christopher Pearce

This dish can be used as a side with a protein, or on its own when served with good crusty sourdough slathered in butter and salt. The recipe is a celebration of the humble tomato, which is starting to come into season now. The basil oil has many uses and, for example, it is fantastic over grilled fish or seafood. It also works really nicely with strawberries and cream or with a pavlova.


1.2kg heirloom tomatoes, roughly diced into 3cm pieces

50ml olive oil

3 cloves garlic, finely sliced

1 long red chilli, de-seeded and finely diced

1 lemon, juiced

flaked salt and pepper

4 pieces of burrata (about 125g each)

¼ bunch basil, roughly torn

1 lemon, zest

For the basil oil 

2 bunches basil

200ml olive oil


Add the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, chilli and lemon juice to a large mixing bowl and toss gently using your fingertips. Season heavily with flaked salt and more pepper than you might think. Plate up with the burrata and sprinkle with roughly torn basil leaves and the lemon zest. Drizzle with basil oil (see recipe below) and serve.

To make the basil oil: Bring a medium sized pot of water to the boil. Blanch the basil, including the stalks, for 45 seconds and then strain and place into ice water. Immediately remove from the ice water and press between a couple of tea towels to get as much water off the basil as possible. Place the basil leaves and stalks and olive oil into a food processor and whiz on high until a green paste forms. Place in a fine strainer or muslin cloth and strain the oil out. It should be a bright, vibrant green colour.

TIP: The trick with extracting the basil oil through the muslin or fine sieve is to let gravity do the work. Try not to squeeze the oil out. If you have to let it sit in the fridge overnight suspended by a pot, then so be it. Store the basil oil in the fridge with aluminium foil wrapped around the outside of the bottle. The more exposure to light it has, the quicker the colour will fade from the oil.

If you like this recipe, try Neil Perry's burrata with capsicum salad recipe.