Spooning into a good burrata is a lot like biting into a creme-filled Cadbury egg. As good as the outside is, it's the gooey interior that everyone wants. And who knew one could consume the custardy interior of a good lobe of burrata cheese all on its own? Before it gets stuffed inside a ball of mozzarella, it's known as Stracciatella – literally, 'torn apart'.
Obika Mozzarella Bar's thrice-weekly imports of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP are displayed within glass cases like pastry. There's a lot of cheese here, but you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't order the Stracciatella. It's the heart of a good burrata, and, as if to prove that there's something superior about the Italian bovines that produce it, it's sweet, even if it's not actually sweetened.
The last line in 'The Farmer in the Dell' suggests that cheese can stand alone. But it's usually better with a hunk of bread, a few ripe figs or a spoonful of honey. In the case of Stracciatella, Eggplant Caponata makes a marvelous partner.
It's safe to say that there are better renditions of eggplant caponata out there. Mario Batali makes one. But in terms of an accompaniment, this Stracciatella di Burrata couldn't ask for much more. Obika's caponata has the chutzpa to be both cloyingly astringent and delicately sweet. Golden raisins, soft pine nuts and fresh, skinned almonds offer texture and sort of let you forget that you're eating roasted and sauteed eggplant. Which, let's face it, isn't the most pleasant of textures.
The creamy cheese (served cold) and tangy eggplant (served warm) together make for a great – and reasonably priced – meal. And if you close your eyes, pop an olive or two in your mouth, and breathe deeply into your wine glass, you may even forget that you're inside a mall.
Eat This Now: Stracciatella di Burrata with Eggplant Caponata ($14) at Obika Mozzarella Bar.
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