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A Trio of Flavored Butters

14 Apr

What I am about to say may get me kicked out of every food-appreciation club in America, but here goes: I am not an enormous fan of butter.

Now, it’s really as cut and dry as that.  I do, of course, enjoy the way butter adds an unmistakable flavor to a recipe, and, obviously, you can’t bake (and enthusiastically devour) as many things as I do without a fine appreciation of butter, but the habit of positively slathering a biscuit, pancake, or slice of bread with enough butter to create the look of a frosted cake is not really my idea of maximum deliciousness.  While not in any way anti-butter, I so have fairly set standards for where my enjoyment of butter starts and stops.  A light slip of butter atop a slice of warm bread?  Yes.  A biscuit soaked through with a prodigious slick of dripping butterfat?  No.

I am sure this proves some sort of fault with my tasting capabilities, and it no doubt points to some sort of loss of my ability to enjoy the most basic things about simple food and plain ingredients, but I am fine with that.  Why?  Because that possible weakness in my taste preferences leads me to do the type thing that I did yesterday afternoon, which was spend a very pleasant half an hour coming up with creative ways to flavor butter.  Just like that, my loss has become your gain.

The idea here is to use each butter sparingly.  The subtle briskness of the mint, the fresh shot of citrus, the layered combination of the lemon and basil—these are all meant to coax your butter into something a bit more satisfying to the palette than what ordinary butter provides.  If you are not sure that anything in the world can ever top the simple pleasure of plain old butter, I certainly don’t disparage that opinion.  What I do suggest, however, is that you take a few minutes to at least make and try these wonderful flavored butters, as it might just change your opinion about what butter can do.

 

It certainly altered my opinion of the joys of butter, a turn of events that has, not surprisingly, managed to almost work against me.  Whereas I used to eschew butter on my bread 90% of the time (with the exception of fresh, hot bread newly released from the oven), I now find myself looking for reasons to spread these lovely flavored butters on everything I can.  If, previously, my loss was transformed into another’s gain, it seems as though my weakness has now become, well, my weakness.

It would be a crime to relegate these butters as being toppings for just baked goods.  I have visions of any of these butters making for an absolutely dreamy combination when lightly dolloped on poached fish, steamed new potatoes, or roasted asparagus.  I plan to get right on those experiments, and I encourage you all to get in on it as well and let me know how it turns out.

Orange Butter

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted, softened, room temperature butter

2 heaping tablespoons finely grated or chopped orange zest

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

pinch sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Thoroughly combine by beating vigorously with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula.  If you want your butter to have a lighter consistency, whip butter combination with an electric mixer until fluffy.

Mint Butter

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted, softened, room temperature butter

3 heaping tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

small squeeze of lemon juice

pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Thoroughly combine by beating vigorously with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula.  If you want your butter to have a lighter consistency, whip butter combination with an electric mixer until fluffy.

Citrus Basil Butter

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted, softened, room temperature butter

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

1/4 teaspoon finely grated or chopped lemon zest

small squeeze of lemon juice

pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Thoroughly combine by beating vigorously with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula.  If you want your butter to have a lighter consistency, whip butter combination with an electric mixer until fluffy.

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5 Responses to “A Trio of Flavored Butters”

  1. Corinna April 14, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    Blasphemy! As I say frequently, food is merely a vehicle for butter.

    My I also suggest cranberry & walnut butter? Quite a delicious holiday treat.

  2. Holle April 14, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    I must admit
    I’m in a bit of a snit,
    For butter, you see, I adore,
    In fact for it-
    I’m completely
    A whore!

  3. savorysaltysweet April 14, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    I knew my admission might be viewed with disbelief, but I think my lukewarm feelings about oodles of butter might end up being viewed as my SECOND most unpopular food dislike. The first: doughnuts. I do not like doughnuts. I might be the only person in the world who does not like doughnuts, but there you have it. I feel like I am in confession.

  4. Holle April 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    You and I should share a box of doughnuts. I love hanging out with people who don’t like what I love!
    I married my husband cause he’s lactose intolerant.
    I get all the ice cream.

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