Consumed by a need to overachieve, I often find myself with a constant craving for complexity. The incessant demand to consistently create an innovative and sophisticated palate coincides with my refusal to accept a shorthand of perfection.
Recently, I’ve noticed how these tendencies manifest themselves in my cooking—a desire for elaborate recipes and flavors which present themselves as manifold. With a vast assortment of ingredients and possibilities, it is easy to entangle ourselves in the complicated. Yet, in an effort to resist my inclination to overachieve, I’ve sought to revert to the simple and truly appreciate the bounty in the basic.
In order to fully avoid the persuasion of the perplexing, I’ve chosen to prepare and savor the simplest spread of all—butter. Butter is distinctly a commonplace in many of our meals, with its genius largely ignored; but there’s nothing that quite matches the comforting enjoyment of its soft and smooth texture that’s accompanied by the perfect complement of salty and sweet. Whether it coats a warm slice of sourdough or melts perfectly on your steak and roasted vegetables, it serves a crucial function.
This recipe is simple yet possesses unlimited potential as you can decide to omit any of the additional ingredients such as the garlic or parsley or include your own personal flair with the addition of honey or truffle. While butter is rather simple to make, its homemade preparation guarantees gratification. From this experience, I’ve learned that more often than not, it’s the creation of small and simple things that leave us feeling the most accomplished.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ teaspoon salt, preferably flaky sea salt
4 cloves garlic
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
Pour the heavy whipping cream into the bowl of a stand mixer, or if you intend to use a hand-held mixer, a mixing bowl with tall sides to avoid spillage. Begin stirring at a low speed, gradually increasing the speed to beat the cream as the mixture starts to thicken.
As the mixture starts to resemble whipped cream, continue to mix at increasing speed until the cream reveals the thick, lightly clumpy butter consistency. At this point, you should be able to see the separation between the fat solids and the liquid buttermilk that rests on the bottom of the bowl.
Pour the mixture into a fine-mesh strainer to allow the liquid buttermilk to drain, leaving you with thick, creamy, homemade butter. The drained buttermilk is useful in other recipes, including pasta sauces, if you would like to reserve it for later. When you are left with the aggregation of fatty solids in your strainer, continue to rinse under cold water to allow the butter to further mold together.
With your hands, work to shape the butter into a ball, place it in the container of your choice, and move it to the refrigerator for 30 mins to cool. During this time, finely mince your garlic cloves and chop your parsley. Then remove the butter from the refrigerator and fold in the garlic, parsley, and salt until evenly combined.
Spread your delicious butter spread on a warm piece of sourdough or any delicious food of your choice (it is just as delectable by itself as well). Enjoy!
Cover photo courtesy of Cooking Classy