Furikake, pre-butter. Photo credit: StockFood / Robertson, Lew
There were two moments when everything changed for food writer Rebekah Peppler. One: On a trip to France, she tasted Jean-Yves Bordier’s celebrated beurre aux algues (seaweed butter). (It’s what would later influence her to mix furikake, a Japanese seasoning that contains dried seaweed, into her own butter.) Two: She gave honey another go.
“I grew up in Wisconsin in a small town and the honey we had was the honey from the grocery store from the bear bottle that was almost sickly sweet and cloying,” she told us. “So I always had this bias against it.” Years later, as an adult, she tasted honey from a New Jersey farm. “It was straw yellow and super viscous, really thin honey. I thought, ‘Oh dear Lord I have wasted so much time in my life. This is the best thing I’ve ever had.’ It was so sweet without being saccharine. Just lovely.”
She became obsessed. She researched honey varieties. “It opened up this Narnia of honey,” she says. “It’s not this one-note ingredient, there’s all this different honey with different flavor profiles to choose from.” And then she wrote a book. About honey. Out May 20th, it’s the eighth in a series of of small-format, single ingredient-driven cookbooks published by Short Stack in New York City. We got our hands on an early copy and—what do you know?—the one recipe changed everything for us.
“Compound butter is the secret hostess trick,” says Peppler, “and the sweetness of honey in this one helps balance out the savory, crazy umami flavors furikake has already in it.” She spreads it on baguettes, sizzles scallops in it, brushes it on salmon, dollops it onto potatoes, and uses it as a popcorn seasoning. “Popcorn is one of my go-to single lady night meals,” says Peppler. “With wine it’s always better.”
Come Christmas time, she’s going to try the butter in her family’s classic Chex mix. And that will change everything for the Pepplers.
Makes 2/3 cup
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tablespoon acacia honey
1 tablespoon furikake seasoning (available at Asian markets)
1 tablespoon flaky sea salt
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the honey, furikake and salt, stirring until the honey dissolves. Use the butter warm or pour into ramekins and chill. The butter will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 month.
Makes 16 cups
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2⁄3 cup popcorn kernels
2⁄3 cup furikake butter
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the popcorn kernels, shake to coat in oil and cover. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally, until all the kernels have popped, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl; discard any un-popped kernels. Drizzle the furikake butter over the popcorn, tossing gently to coat, and serve warm.