(c) 2014, Davd
Soon i will post a technique for baking bread, potatoes, and a beef roast together, which has made me many a fine meal (worthy of a good red wine.) The bread it makes goes very well with garlic butter, and so, i thought, i should first tell readers who don’t know, how to make garlic butter.
It’s quite easy: You’ll need a cutting board (oak is best, cedar is good), a sharp knife (if you have a “vegetable knife”, that’s probably best), a frying pan (or a ceramic mug and a woodstove, which is what i use), some butter or quality margarine, and a “clove” of garlic. Cut off the root-end of the garlic and chop it fine. Put the chopped garlic in the pan or mug, add the butter or margarine (try a half cup, or “eyeball it”)* and heat gently on the stove. If the stove is electric, you should use a frying pan, and stainless steel is as good as cast iron for this job: Turn the heat on quite low. If you have a woodstove, stand the mug or frying pan on a spot where the heat is relatively mild. The butter or margarine should melt, but not boil. (There is water in butter and especially in margarine.)
Once it melts, the fat-water mixture will probably separate; but still, somehow, the flavour of the garlic will gradually work its way into them both. (Stir it back together a few times with a fork, to make sure the fat gets its garlic.) Give it at least 15 minutes melted but not boiling, and if you have a place where you can leave it longer, an hour is better. Then you can let it cool; the fat will solidify on top of the water.
If you have fresh or frozen chives handy, adding some, cut about a half centimetre [less than ¼”; and the right length to cut chives for freezing] long, seems to me to make it even better.
Just as the fat is solidifying, if you want, you can mix it and the water back together with a fork. (A spoon doesn’t work nearly as well—just as a spoon doesn’t work as well for stirring spaghetti while it boils.) I usually leave them separate, spread the fat on bread, and add the fluid to something like pasta sauce or beef soup, or a marinade, whose flavour it will improve .
On the West Coast, cracked (Dungeness or Pacific) crab and garlic bread are considered a gourmet meal. Here on the East Coast, lobster is [imho] at least as good dipped in warm garlic butter as with mayonnaise; and snow crab also goes well with garlic bread and dipped in garlic butter. Fried or grilled chicken filet [“white” meat] is also good dipped in garlic butter. You can even have pasta, hot, dressed just with garlic butter… and i’ll be surprised if you don’t think of more and more uses.
I’ve made myself a note to grow more garlic in next summer’s garden.
* How much garlic to how much margarine or butter, is a matter of taste; if the result you get seems too strong for your liking, you can warm it up again and add more margarine or butter.