Our mother, an inspired cook, created a fancy butter presentation for special dinners. To put a stick of butter on the table simply wouldn’t do.
Using a set of two grooved wooden “butter paddles”—an item so archaic it isn’t even sold on Amazon.com—she cut chunks of butter from the stick and paddled them into perfectly round balls, nicely patterned by the grooves.
The butter balls were set on the table in a lovely porcelain dish. Those wishing butter (and in those days, we all did) helped themselves to a ball or two.
When we started to host dinner parties, we had no paddles and needed to find an alternative. Our solution: butter ramekins.
Perhaps it didn’t have the wow factor of those golden orbs of paddled butter, but it was much faster to make.
All you need are butter, a ramekin, a spatula and a fresh herb garnish. Then:
1. Soften 2 sticks of butter until they are malleable.
Party time: Serve butter in a ramekin. Photo by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.
2. Using a spatula, pack the butter into a small ramekin. If you don’t have ramekins, they’re worth the investment. They can be used to serve condiments; nuts, olives an other snack foods; desserts and more. Here’s a basic white ramekin.
3. With a sharp knife, cut a crosshatch of grooves onto the top of the butter. If the butter is too soft, stick it in the fridge for 10 minutes.
4. Garnish with a rosemary sprig or other fresh herbs, such as two short chive “plumes” inseted vertically, or a rim of finely-minced chives. You can also press a single large parsley or cilantro leaf into the top, and/or sprinkle some Hawaiian red sea salt (alaea), coarse pink sea salt, tri-color whole peppercorns or coarse-ground black pepper.
Find butter tips and recipes for flavored butters (compound butters) in our Butter Section.
Check out all the different types of butter.
How many types of butter have you had? See our Butter Glossary.
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