[January] Butter

Jan 12th, 2011 | By | Category: Appetizer, Flavor of the Month, Recipes, Side Dish

All things decadent seem to have some sort of relationship with butter. So often, it is the beginning of a great meal, the start of a fragrant sauté, the key to a gorgeous pastry, or the essence of an infused flavor. In spite of all our New Year’s resolutions, we just couldn’t think of a better way to start 2011 than with an ode to butter.

These days it seems that everyone is taking a stand in the debate on organics versus “natural”, local versus imported, seasonality versus availability, and most of all health versus decadence. Steve James, Certified Master Baker and Managing Partner of Popovers in Portsmouth, New Hampshire says, “A while back, butter was bad and margarine and shortenings were good, and now butter is appreciated again. It really comes down to moderation. But I’m very happy about this return to pure butter in commercial kitchens and hopefully at home. Because flavor is back, and that’s what eating is all about.”

So many dishes begin with the rich flavor of butter. From Emeril Lagasse’s famous proclamation of “Buttah” to Paula Deen’s profligate use, (not to mention Julia Child’s fondness for our favorite fat), butter seems to be the new “it” ingredient. Who knew something so simple could take on such a large role in the world of food and enjoyment?

Butter-love is not limited to Western culture either. It’s used worldwide in many different shapes, forms, and textures. In India there is ghee, a clarified butter sold in jars, (See our Lamb Korma recipe in our Cabin Fever issue, on newsstands next month) in Morocco there is smen, and in the Himalayas, yak butter and butter tea are as common as coffee is in our part of the world.

These days, new varieties of butter seem to be popping up in local markets, grocery stores, and restaurants. We have sprayable butter, whipped spreadable butter, salted and unsalted butter, organic butter, goat butter, and even buffalo milk butter. And taking it over the top, behind our beloved Fenway Park, Tasty Burger is serving up their very own version of decadence with their Butta Burger which comes with a Vermont buttered bun, and is slathered with Vermont butter on top—something similar to a cheeseburger but… you guessed it. . . with butter.

January brings new beginnings. This month, our choice of butter as our flavor represents the start of a new year—just like to the start of a good meal, or the start of a new recipe. So what’s your favorite butter? And what’s your favorite recipe that begins with butter? Visit Northeast FLAVOR on Facebook and let us know!

Roquefort Butter

This is recipe appears in our Cabin Fever issue—on newsstands next month—as a dipping sauce for Beef Fondue. Try it on any kind of steak, sautéed vegetables, or pasta.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 drops bitters

METHOD

1. Heat and blend together.

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2 Comments to “[January] Butter”

  1. Bonnie says:

    My favorite cookie that is mostly butter only has 5 ingredients – Almond Raspberry Shortbread. Butter, flour, sugar, almond extract & seedless raspberry preserves. Absolute heaven!

  2. Susan Tuveson says:

    Flavored and herbed butters have occupied me for years. Start with a large knob of softened butter. Add a couple of tablespoons finely chopped herbs of choice with a small dab of Dijon mustard or lemon squeeze (or both) to bring out the flavor of the herbes, a good grind of fresh black pepper. Good on grilled meats and fish, sandwiches, savory scones.

    Or soak currants, raisins, dried cran or other dried fruit chopped fine in cognac, armagnac, brandy….whatever you like. Drain, but not too well; reserve drain liquor. Incorporate into softened butter, add reserved liquor to taste. If you want it sweeter, add a bit of powdered sugar. Smear on everything. In Japanese bars raisin butter is served cold and sliced as an accompaniment to whiskey. They just eat it!

    PS I use unsalted butter

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