Posted Mar 4, 2011 in Food | 0 Comments

Modern Hostess: Bread and Butter

When I’m hungry, there is nothing more satisfying than sinking my teeth into a nice piece of chewy, hot, fresh bread. Garlic bread is a particular favourite of mine because I just love the intense buttery goodness of this Italian restaurant staple. Growing up, garlic bread was often served as an accompaniment on pasta night. My mom always kept prepared garlic butter on hand, which made it easy for us to have garlic bread anytime. When I started to live on my own, I regularly found myself wanting garlic bread, but for some reason I never remembered to pick up garlic butter when I went to the store. Thus, out of sheer necessity, I learned how to make my own garlic butter, and now, there’s just no need to buy it at the grocery store. Plus, it’s so delicious and easy to prepare that I wouldn’t want to!

Garlic butter is essentially a compound butter, which may sound like something scary or bewildering but is actually really simple. In French, this type of butter is referred to as un beurre composé, meaning butter that is composed of several flavour-enhancing ingredients. In order to make compound butter, you blend softened butter (it helps if you leave it to sit out of the fridge for a little while beforehand) with other ingredients and then shape it into a stick after wrapping it with plastic wrap or parchment paper. You then allow it to set in the fridge so that you can slice it, just like a stick of plain butter.

Compound butters are not only delicious as spreads, but they also work as mouthwatering toppings for meat or fish, acting kind of like a sauce once the butter melts. Nothing compares to the flavour of butter, and a compound butter is an elegant yet easy way to enjoy its delicious taste.  You can add lots of different ingredients to create your own unique compound butter.  I’ve seen them made with lots of different flavour agents, such as green onion, soy sauce, citrus fruit zest or juice, chili peppers, or fresh herbs, just to name a few!  Just make sure to finely chop or mince your ingredients so that they blend into the butter easily.

Typically, a baguette would be the classic choice for garlic bread, but feel free to substitute any type of bread that you prefer. I like to cut the bread in fairly small pieces and make sure each piece gets a nice even coating of butter… the extra calories are well worth it! Use whole grain bread for a sneaky dose of extra fiber. I would also recommend using the recipe below as a sauce for shrimp, chicken, or any type of white fish, or as a base for turkey stuffing. Enjoy!

Garlic and Herb Butter:

-1 stick butter, softened
-1 clove garlic, minced (you may substitute another fresh green herb, but don’t use anything dried!)
-1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
-Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until well blended. Lay a layer of plastic wrap on a flat surface.  Drop butter onto plastic wrap and cover butter completely with plastic wrap. Using your hands, carefully roll the plastic-wrapped butter into a log and flatten the sides so that it resembles a stick of butter. Chill in refrigerator until set.

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