Tomorrow is Easter, and besides chocolate eggs, many households will be sharing an Easter brunch with pancakes, or [better] waffles, or [best] French toast. Or [better best] big, soft wondrous Southern biscuits.
What do all those dishes need in common? Butter. But why just plain butter when you can incorporate the flavors of spring or summer? In her book Brunch, Gale Gand suggests you make fruit-flavored butters. She offers the five recipes you will find here:
Gale is a maven at tuning each recipe to achieve a flavor balance that is recognizable but not too penetrating. You may have had a strawberry butter served that, well, was a tad too intense. Here, Gale suggests just enough modest strawberry flavor to give you the perfume and the pleasure. You get to taste, rather than be smacked in the palette.
Her are Gale’s brunch suggestions.
Yield: ½ cup
Take a stick of butter out of the refrigerator and let it come to almost room temperature. Then whip it in a food processor, or with the whip attachment of a hand mixer, to aerate the butter and create a fluffy consistency.
Now add the flavoring, from the list below, and mix until thoroughly blended. Use a spatula to put the butter into a ceramic ramekin, smooth the surface, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until nearly ready to use. Give the butter 15 to 30 minutes at room temperature to soften slightly for easier spreading.
You don’t want to tear that pancake.
- For orange butter: use ½ teaspoon grated orange zest
- For lemon butter: ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
- For strawberry butter: purée 2 hulled medium-sized strawberries, then add to the butt
- For raspberry butter: puree 8 to 10 raspberries
- For blackberry butter: puree 5 to 6 blackberries.
Source: Brunch by Gale Gand
Photo Credits: Canon T2i, EFS 18-55MM, F/5, 1/620th second, ISO-3200
Last year I posted the lovely recipe below for Jalapeno Butter from Fresh Mexico by Marcela Valladolid. It’s a perfect recipe for this 4th of July. Jalapeno Butter on corn or on barbequed steak turns goodness into greatness.
Lately I have seen some options and tried some extensions. So, while you can follow the recipe below, here are ideas to expand your flavor repertoire.
First, you can keep the garlic and parsley and/or add some scallions for a modest flavor shift.
Second, instead of mashing everything together, use a food processor to generate a very smooth texture. A few seconds with soft butter will do it. You’ll want to pulse to mix, not to complete obliterate the jalapenos. What you should end up with is a lovely light green butter with speckles of dark jalapeno green.
Third, of course, you’ll want to use unsalted butter, then taste test. Some salt will probably be needed but it’s a matter of your preferences and the nature of your salt. This is the perfect time to visit that new salt store down the block and try something wild. A smoked salt would be perfect here.
Fourth, take out the parsley and replace with cilantro. Even more Mexican.
Ah, finally, if you have jalapeno and cilantro, you could put in half a ripe avocado for a guacamole butter.
And, really, really finally, if you have some or all of these suggested additions, you can edge towards a margarita flavor. Tread carefully here. Use 1-3 teaspoons of lime juice and/or 1-3 teaspoons of tequila. In the food processor, life is easy. Remember, you can’t un-lime and you certainly can’t un-tequila so start small and add.
In our latest batch, Suzen did the two jalapenos and one stick of butter.
“It’s a little too subtle I …” I stopped talking and went in search of a beer. Particularly if you use a high quality butter, the butter flavor and smoothness may come forward. You are about to fooled. It can take a few seconds for the backend hit of the jalapeno to register. Oh, but it will! So when you make this, already have the beer cold, out, and open. You’ll need it for the corn and steak anyway.
Jalapeno Butter 2012
Yield: ½ cup
- 2 jalapeno chilies
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Grill the jalapenos, turning them occasionally, until charred on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer them to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes.
Using a small paring knife, peel the jalapenos. Scrape out the discard the seeds and veins. Coarsely chop the chiles and transfer them to a medium bowl. Add the butter, garlic and parsley and mash together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the jalapeno butter onto the center of a square piece of plastic warp. Roll it up into a 1-inch diameter log. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until set, or for up to 1 week.