Can we all agree to stop villifying butter? Unlike some fats (and other crap), butter has been around since we learned what those silly udders on cows were for, sustaining us and making our food more delicious. It wouldn't surprise me if we invented bread solely for the purpose of having something good to spread this miracle substance on, and I for one do not skimp when presented with the opportunity to use it. See also: uni butter. Because I believe butter is a miracle and not a curse, it is so.
I also really love making compound butters, which is very simply softened butter blended with something else, then re-firmed up and used liberally. Wow, that sounds like an "occasion food!" It's not. Butter is about as simple, cheap and abundant as it gets (which makes it decidedly not an "occasion food") and breaking out the food processor or stand mixer, while occasionally cumbersome, is nothing to write home about. Soften a stick from your frozen butter arsenal (or is that just me?) and go to town:
- Caramelized onion butter on a French cheese sandwich
- Whole-grain mustard butter on a carved roast ham sandwich
- Cilantro butter stirred into basmati rice
- Asian pesto butter on rice noodles
- Pickled jalapeño butter on a baked potato
- Bacon butter on a ripe summer tomato sandwich (see also: bacon cream cheese)
- Roasted beet butter on cheese ravioli
- Or this very baller, zero-energy spaghetti hack.
Note how lemon butter on a lobster roll and pesto butter on a caprese sandwich didn't make the cut. That's because those are obvious, we're being creative with butter here. Do you know what beets will do to butter!? Also, fresh cheeses like mozzarella don't really benefit from a schmear, it's more for the firmer, aged ones, but they all appreciate you asking. Like every member of the very polite dairy family, remember that butter is a friend that helps keep you full and sated, and if used properly, won't put a dent in your dietary equilibrium. See also: the French.
More lunch improvements on Food Republic: