Butter bars — plates smeared with softened butter and topped with all sorts of savory and sweet ingredients — began popping up on social media last week, after food influencer Justin Doiron posted on TikTok the concept. And she says, “I want to make her the next Charcuterie.” in the videoIt has been viewed nearly 8 million times as of this afternoon. “Not to rape the Charcuterie, but maybe a little.”
Her version is topped with lemon zest, salt, edible flowers, and “honey coriander mode,” resulting in an attractive colorful spread through which clumps of warm, crunchy bread pull.
She notes that her inspiration came from chef and author Joshua McFadden, who wrote it in his 2017 cookbook. Six Seasons: A new way with vegetables He included a recipe for butter sprinkled with flowers and herbs, which he described as a dish to delight guests. “I’ve never put this on a table without it sparking a lot of talk and happy faces,” McFadden wrote.
Others soon followed in Doyron’s footsteps, posting photos and videos of butter bars topped with figs, sliced pink radishes, and ripe strawberries. Reeves included a chalkboard with a spread Whipped cream cheese It is topped with berries and jam, with bread for dipping, and Goat cheese With delicious crackers.
Of course, the concept of flavored butter isn’t new – compound butter has long been a staple for cooks and home cooks alike, used to garnish meat, fish, and vegetables on the grill or to spread on a delicious slice of bread. And the French were dunking radishes in salty butter when TikTok just described the sound of the watches they make.
But the butter slab seems to have benefited from our collective love of food artfully arranged on the slabs, as well as a pent-up desire to share and entertain. The timing is opportune, too, as we contemplate fall gatherings—that’s not a dish to serve on a sweltering summer patio.
McFadden, who doesn’t use TikTok and claims to be Instagram incompetent, said he first heard that his recipe — which he came up with when he was running events on the farm as a chef and was looking for a new topping — had gone viral when Doiron messaged him about it. Now, he enjoys seeing people try it out. “It’s a fun recipe because anyone can do it; it’s really accessible.”
It is believed that much of the draw is that the food has to be shared. “No one makes a butter bar just for themselves — I mean, if they are, they have more power,” he said. “But it connects people, and that’s so cool, especially at a time when the world is so weird.”
This concept has had some skeptics on social media, with many concerned about double dips and the idea of group eating while the coronavirus remains a threat. And some seem afraid that they might clean their board (usually a bread or cutting board) afterwards. “Love this,” one commenter wrote on Doiron’s initial video. “But… I’d rather get rid of that slate after trying to wash it off.” (A good scrub with soap and warm water should do this easily, apparently?)
My colleague, voracious writer, Becky Crystal, wasn’t enthusiastic either—though her reasoning is more about a preference for simplicity than public health or cleaning concerns. “Look, I love breaded butter, and it’s a staple in my diet, but do we really have to make it a thing now?” She shrugged me off when I asked for her thoughts. “Especially the way that’s basically a messy way to eat compound butter.”
She’s a fan of good butter (perforated, salted) on bread and thinks the toppings people are loading looks cumbersome. But if she was forced to make a butter slab (here imagining a scenario along the lines of “Misery”), she said she’d keep it simple: “Channel garlic bread by sprinkling creamy, spreadable, caramelized roasted garlic cloves over it, perhaps with some chives and salt,” she suggested. “Heck, just dusting all the spices would be fine too.”
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