Fun with Fancy-Ass Butters
If you’re new to cooking, here’s a tip that’ll get you a lot of mileage in the taste department: just about everything is, in fact, better with butter.
This is a dangerous one, because if you wield this hack too liberally, you might find yourself also wielding a burst zipper on your jeans. It might be best saved for occasions when you’re trying to impress someone else (a dinner party? a hot date?) with something delicious.
But with butter, it’s go big or go home. So try a few compound butters, which make you look like a skilled culinary mixmaster without requiring more than a few minutes of your time. The most basic example is garlic butter. Ever eaten a plain steak? Pretty dece. Ever had a steak, otherwise bare, with a big pat of garlicky lard melted on top? Divine.
To create a FAB (fancy-ass butter), first soften your butter of choice. Leave it out on the counter in a bowl for a few hours, or microwave on low heat for about 20 seconds. You don’t want it liquefied, just mushy. Then, stir in your mix-ins. Wrap the blob in wax paper and try to shape it into a rectangle or a round log so when refrigerated, it hardens into an appealingly slice-able shape. You can also pack the butter in a jar–very chic. Either way, keep it in the fridge till you’re ready to use.
Then, at your leisure, you can:
-Pat on a piece of meat
-Mix into plain pasta
-Melt on a piece of toast or a muffin
-Stir into mashed potatoes
-Smear onto corn on the cob
-Drizzle onto steamed veggies
-Prep a skillet for fancy grilled cheese
-Just go nuts.
Here are some easy FABs to try, plus a couple ideas for how to deploy them.
Mix-In: crumbled pecans and honey
Tastes great on: toast, English muffins
Mix-In: chives, rosemary, or similar herbs you like
Tastes great on: baked potatoes, chicken, veggies
Mix-In: parmesan and garlic
Tastes great on: BEEEEEEF
Mix-In: lemon zest (that’s the little shavings you get from grating the skin)
Tastes great on: seafood, pasta
Mix-In: cilantro and lime zest
Tastes great on: corn or anything a little spicy
Mix-In: dried cranberries
Tastes great on: pancakes, waffles, breads
(Bonus round: try soaking the fruits in a little booze first)
Mix-In: maple syrup and crushed walnuts
Tastes great on: breads, muffins, a spoon presented directly to your mouth.