The 10 Rules of Butter
Buying, storing and using the food that makes everything taste better
The best things in life are even better with butter, from corn on the cob to thick, juicy steak. Here are ten ways to make the most of that fatty, creamy goodness.
Stop Refrigerating It
Butter contains a high percentage of fat and generally doesn’t spoil when left out on the counter. (Use a fancy French storage vessel or pretty covered dish if you must.) Bye, cold hard butter that rips your toast.
Save the Wrappers
When you’re planning to bake, save up your butter wrappers in advance. They’re great for greasing cookie sheets and cake pans.
Buy in Quarters
See rule #1. If your butter comes wrapped in smaller, quarter-cup sticks rather than the usual half-cup ones, it’s easier to leave out amounts that you’ll go through faster.
Understand Salted Vs. Unsalted
Some recipes call for unsalted butter, but if you’re baking and have only salted on hand, go ahead and use it. Just cut out the other salt in the recipe and things will balance out just fine.
Butter Your Medicine
Hate swallowing chunky vitamins or pills? Coat them with a little butter for an easier slide down the pipe.
Eat Butter Even if You’re Dairy-Free
If you want or need to keep dairy out of your diet, give yourself a pass on butter. The amount of milk protein it contains is only about one percent, and if you clarify it (see next rule), it's even less.
Clarify Before You Fry
Butter can’t hold up to high cook temps like some oils can--it burns fast. But you can use butter to fry or sauté (yum, buttered broccoli) if you clarify it first: Melt it in a pan over low heat, let cool, then skim the white stuff off the top.
Bring It To Room Temperature Faster
Don’t have hours to wait on your butter to soften? Use a cheese grater to grate off the amount you need--the tiny slivers will come to room temperature in no time. And if you must soften butter in the microwave, use the defrost setting.
Serve It Like It’s Special
When you’re putting butter on the dinner table, don’t just slap a stick on a plate. Use a warm knife (run it under hot water for a few seconds) to slice it in pretty cubes or slabs and arrange artfully.
Melt It On Steak
To make great steak, nix the grill. Cook it in a skillet, adding a pat of butter once both sides are seared. Continue spooning the pan butter over the top of the steak as it cooks (otherwise known as basting)--and for good measure, add one more pat of butter on top just before you serve it.