Use Butter Better

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Is butter bad for us, or does it just have an image problem?

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What’s the final verdict on butter? Studies and news headlines contradict one another constantly: Just as we’re starting to slather the butter on, we then have to fish the olive oil bottle out from the darkest part of the pantry. The one thing we can be certain about is that a single research study is not the same as an official health recommendation. (And even then, we’ve had some historically bad recommendations in this country when it comes to butter and saturated fat. Remember its replacement, trans fat-loaded margarine? Turns out we were better off with the real thing.)

Butter, along with its saturated fats, can absolutely be part of our diets — perhaps not as our exclusive fat of choice, but if you choose to cook fresh, whole foods with butter instead of eating fast food, then savor and enjoy. Here are some tips for using butter better:

Finish with It

One of our favorite examples of this technique is illustrated above. Start by preparing your favorite soup recipe. Once it's finished, ladle it into bowls, and then just before serving, float 1 teaspoon of butter in each one. It melts on top, and then every spoonful has a delicious buttery slick on top. Adding the butter at the very end makes more of an impact than if you had used a whole stick up front.

Pair It with a Friend

A little bit of butter partners nicely with olive oil when you’re sauteing or pan-frying. Olive oil brings its healthy monounsaturated fats and high smoke point, while butter’s milk fat adds flavor and color.

Medium rare grilled Beef steak with herb butter on fork on dark background

Keep Compound Butters on Hand

Just a thin slice of compound butter melted over grilled meat, fish or roasted vegetables adds a whole new level of deliciousness. Mix your favorite herbs, spices or hot sauces into softened butter, roll it up into a log with some parchment and keep it in your freezer.

Splurge on Special Butters

There are so many to choose from: cultured, salted and truffled to name a few. Let one soften at room temperature and enjoy it on some good bread!