Do you often think of butter? Well, if so, join the crowd.
There is something magical about this dairy product; it is so smooth and creamy and makes almost anything you put it on taste better.
Renowned French chef Auguste Escoffier, the same chef who codified the five mother sauces, was well known for quipping, "Add more butter!"
What would happen to our beloved desserts without butter? Pasta, pancakes, toast? What about butter fortified with garlic? What then would escargot be like or a grilled steak or lobster? OK, perhaps I have made the point.
But all butter is not the same. The USDA has three grades of butter, B, A and AA and the difference is based on body, texture, flavor and appearance. As is always the case, buy the best you can afford, with the very best being available at the local farmer's market.
Here are just a few of the classic flavored butters used in French cooking: Almond, anchovy, garlic, prawn, lemon, mustard and Roquefort.
One of the most important things you can do with butter is to clarify it. It removes the solids and increases the temperature at which it can be used, without burning.
1 stick best-quality butter
Container to hold and store clarified butter
Gently melt the butter in the sauce pan, without stirring. With a spoon, remove the scum that forms and discard. When the butter has melted, carefully pour off the clear liquid, while leaving the solids in the pan. Discard the solids, keep the clarified butter in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Clarified butter is ideal for searing any meat or seafood.