December 22, 2014 by Smock Alley
Butter is one of the most useful ingredients at this time of year.
WTF say you!? TF say I! It can transform a dish with the simple addition of a few herbs and spices and breathe new life into a tired old bird. And I know about tired old birds.
Flavoured butters are as classical as cooking gets, but often overlooked as a old fashioned or declassé. Pish posh says I. They remain massively relevant and here’s why.
Turkey. Bland and big. Why not mix some butter with parsley, lemon zest, thyme and garlic, roll into a sausage shape, freeze for 30 minutes or so, slice and tuck under the skin of the turkey and then roast. It’s like an internal basting for the turkey.
(It also helps to remove the legs of the big bird, bone, stuff and roll them and cook separately, reducing cooking time of the main part of the bird and giving every one a share of the dark meat) Hey presto, moisto birdo!
Why not soak some raisins in sherry, a dry one like Fino is best, and when plump mix into softened butter with some tarragon and salt and pepper, again roll into a sausage, freeze, slice and use as a topping for some simple fried or grilled fish- salmon works particularly well. Capers can be used instead of the raisins for equally delicious results.
And for the ultimate garlic bread, mix softened butter, garlic, salt, pepper and grated Parmesan, make cuts into a baguette, fill with the butter mix, grate a little Parmesan over the top and into an oven until crisp and delicious.
Don’t forget garlic butter with steak, dill butter with new potatoes, truffle butter in a parsnip puree for Oligarch decadence, not to mention melted butter sauces such as hollandaise, bearnaise, & beure noisette.
Not forgetting it can be sweet too, try rum butter as an alternative to brandy butter. Rum, icing sugar and butter. It goes with everything.