Butter is a must-have cooking staple that Michelin-star and amateur chefs alike rely on for bringing a touch of luxury to their dishes. Although a simple stick of butter is a certified kitchen classic, jazzing up said butter is a surefire way to give your favorite recipes a vibrant yet understated dash of flavor. Enter jalapeños.
Infusing your butter with jalapeños gives an otherwise mild-mannered ingredient a distinct hit of heat and flavor, turning it into a spicy compound capable of adding fiery excitement to your favorite dishes -- even if it's a simple slice of toast.
Whether you make it from scratch with good old-fashioned buttermilk (and a little bit of elbow grease) or keep it simple by purchasing it from the supermarket, adding jalapeños to butter is a simple process that only requires a little bit of pepper chopping before mixing it into your tub, stick, or jar of butter.
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How To Tame A Jalapeño's Fire
Although they aren't the spiciest pepper on the Scoville scale, jalapeños are still pretty dang hot. The good news for foodies with sensitive tastebuds is that you can control the level of jalapeño spice that goes into your butter.
For starters, if you want milder hints of spice, include fewer jalapeños in your butter. Even when only a few jalapeños are embedded in your creamy stick of butter, their aroma and flavor will permeate throughout the entire batch without searing your delicate tastebuds. Additionally, red jalapeños are spicier than their green counterparts, so choose according to your preferred heat level.
Another way to reduce the level of fire in the jalapeño butter is to remove the seeds and membrane of the pepper before adding it in. To do this, cut the jalapeño vertically and use a spoon or fork to scoop out the inner guts that give it its signature spice. The fragrant and flavorful jalapeño flesh, free from the intense heat found in the seeds and membrane, is what remains. Another way to mitigate the heat in your jalapeño spread is to introduce a dash of acid to the butter, such as lemon or lime juice, which helps neutralize the molecule responsible for all that fire.
Uses And Complementary Infusions For Jalapeño Butter
Now that you're inspired to add jalapeño peppers to your butter, you'll need some ideas for using it. This spicy butter is an excellent addition to a charcuterie board, elevating a vibrant tapestry of flavors and rounding out the board's sweet, salty, mild, and meaty flavors with a delicate kick of creamy heat. If you don't feel like snacking, melt jalapeño butter over a charred, medium-rare steak or seafood platter to impart a piquant flavor infusion to a filling entree.
Spicy grilled cheese sandwich, anyone? Swap your salted butter for a jalapeño variety to give your sandwich a subtle yet present punch of fire that can be soothed by melty cheese and crunchy bread. If you're feeling particularly creative, consider infusing the jalapeño butter with additional ingredients. Cilantro can give your spicy butter a fresh, zesty finish perfect for crafting Mexican meals, while chives will lend an earthy, oniony flavor capable of elevating any dish.
Of course, you can never go wrong with adding garlic to anything! On the sweeter side of the pendulum, maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey will give the jalapeño butter a more balanced flavor profile that walks the line between spicy and sweet and is perfect for chicken, biscuits, and waffles. Next time you're bored with your butter, give it some kick from jalapeños.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.