Charcuterie boards loaded with meat, cheese and other finger foods have become a beloved staple at gatherings and even some restaurants. Now, there’s a buttery new twist on these tasty appetizers, based on a longstanding staple in traditional French cooking.
The List looks at a new trend that’s literally spreading all over social media: Butter boards. Instead of meat and cheese, chefs and home entertainers are spreading butter and an array of other ingredients on a plate or serving platter.
Jon-Paul Hutchins, corporate chef at ShiftPixyLabs in Phoenix, explains.
“All a butter board is, is this just deconstructed compound butter,” Hutchins tells The List, a daily TV show that covers pop culture and lifestyle topics. “And a compound butter is just plain butter with anything added to it. This is a French technique that’s been around for like 200 years.”
What You Need to Prepare a Butter Board
Butter boards can be as simple or as complex as you like. They can also be savory or sweet. And because they don’t require any cooking or advanced kitchen skills, almost anyone can prepare these eye-catching dishes.
The two primary items you need are softened butter and a board. Wooden cutting boards or cheese boards work well, but you can also use a marble or slate board. And if you want to make cleanup easier, try lining the board with parchment paper before smearing on the buttery base.
You’ll also want to round up some ingredients to add flavor and color to the board. For example, Hutchins prepares a roasted garlic butter board by mashing roasted garlic gloves into softened sticks of butter. After spreading the flavored butter onto the board, he tops it with parsley, chives, tarragon and chervil, followed by lemon zest, shallots and pomegranates.
“Super bright tasting,” he says. “I got a little crunch from the pomegranates, so there’s some texture in there.”
He also makes a flavorful Thai chicken satay board. He starts by stirring together coconut milk, curry and coriander, then reduces it on the stovetop. To the thickened mixture, he next adds peanut butter, brown sugar and lemon juice. This delicious, smearable concoction becomes the base of the butter board, which Hutchins tops with shredded chicken, chilies, cilantro, shredded coconut and pomegranates.
Another idea. Go sweet with your butter board and make an easy-to-assemble desert.
“So, this is going to be a bunch of fruit, a couple of candies, but I’m going to be using nut butters instead,” he explains.
After piping peanut butter, walnut butter and Nutella onto the board, he embellishes it with slices of Rice Crispie treats and fruit for dipping, along with crushed nuts and chocolate chips for added texture and flavor.
What to Serve With a Butter Board
You’ll definitely need something for dipping. Bread is an easy go-to, but consider what would complement the type of butter board you create. For instance, fresh sliced veggies might be tasty dipped into an herbed butter spread, while apple slices or graham crackers would be fun for a honey and cinnamon butter board.
Another option is to provide small knives or spreaders alongside your board. Some guests might prefer to spread the butter onto a slice of bread or cracker than swipe their food across the board (although, where’s the fun in that?).
Perhaps the best part of constructing a butter board is making it your own. There is no right or wrong way; add what tastes good to you! Because everything’s better with butter.
By Tricia Goss, for The List.