Use these tips to have fun with the latest food trend — butter boards
Butter lovers, pay attention! There’s a new way to enjoy this ingredient, and it’s taken over social media — butter boards.
The idea is simple: spread butter on a platter, then top it with your favorite ingredients and enjoy with fresh bread. But it’s also so much more.
For weeks, TikTok users have been putting their own personal touch on this trend — ranging from the intense to the comedic — and it’s created a frenzy.
Videos using #butterboard have garnered more than 10 billion views worldwide.
But the premise isn’t new.
For one thing, it goes back as far as 2017, when chef Joshua McFadden published recipes for butter boards in a cookbook published that year — Six Seasons: a New Way With Vegetables.
While talking to NPR about the concept that’s now the “it” thing, he says he was looking for a way to utilize fresh, seasonal produce.
“Herbs and vegetables are sprouting and there’s all these offshoots or edible flowers to a plant — and they have flavor. [The butter board] was just a really great way to showcase a seasonal moment,” McFadden says.
He says that it’s been fun to watch the trend take off.
“I like the ketchup one because I think it’s so ridiculous [and] she was a comedian,” McFadden says.
“I think the whole thing has been fun because it is so immediate and accessible to people. It’s just amazing that people are starting to share food and and that’s what it’s all about.”
To pull off a successful butter board, first you’ll need bread.
For that, McFadden suggests his tender spelt buttermilk biscuits. The inspiration for them came from his latest cookbook, Grains for Every Season.
“My friend showed me this recipe back in the day. Spelt is readily available, but it has this nuttier flavor, so it’s something that I’ve stuck in my repertoire and its one of those recipes that works really, really well.”
If you’re not in the mood for butter, McFadden suggests making cream cheese to enjoy with the biscuits. One of his favorites is blueberry.
“Just take some blueberries and cook them down and just swirl them into a cream cheese,” says McFadden, who emphasizes how easy it is to make your own flavored cream cheese.
It’s versatile, too, and can be used to make sweet or savory varieties.
And yes, you can use them to make a cream cheese board.
“That’s one of the things that’s been fun to watch — the cream cheese boards with smoked salmon and capers and onions and all the fun things like that. [The options are] limitless.”
The following recipe is excerpted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017.
“Herbed” Butter with Warm Bread
This is one of my favorite things to have on the table during the spring and summer. It’s impossible to write a precise recipe for this, so use this as a guide to set you up for success.
Bread and butter all by itself is one of the perfect things in life. Good butter — grass-fed, real butter, the yellow, almost cheeselike butter — is popping up at farmers’ markets in small batches and is even showing up on supermarket shelves. Butter has gotten a bad rap, but finally the nutrition world is realizing that it’s actually quite good for us. One of the healthiest, most brilliant people I know — Eliot Coleman of Four Season Farm in Maine — thinks it’s the perfect food. He eats it almost like peanut butter, spread on the bread so thickly that he can see his teeth marks after he takes a bite.
Once you have found some good butter to celebrate, gather the herbs, edible flowers, shoots, baby greens … just mix it up. The end result will be stunning and will tell a story-every bite is unique.
Smear the butter flat on a cutting board or plate, season generously with flaky salt, several cranks of black pepper, and a sprinkle of chile flakes. Then just start layering on the greens and herbs, some grated citrus zest if you have it, toss on some chopped pickles or capers, and keep adding. Place on the table with a nice warm country loaf to rip into and let the good times begin. I’ve never put this on a table without it prompting a lot of conversation and happy faces.
The following recipes are excerpted from Grains for Every Season by Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021.
Tender Spelt Buttermilk Biscuits
MAKES EIGHT 3-INCH (7.5CM) BISCUITS
2 cups (240 g) spelt flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 ounces (115 g) unsalted butter, very cold
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk, plus more for brushing
1. Heat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
2. Whisk together the spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. On the large holes of a box grater, grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients. With your hands, toss the dry ingredients and butter together so the butter is fully distributed.
3. Pour in the buttermilk, stirring gently to moisten the flour. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Press lightly to flatten the dough slightly, then fold it over on itself a couple of times; this will complete the mixing and help create some flaky layers.
4. Press the dough out until it’s about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Cut out rounds with a 2½-inch (6.5 cm) cutter, then gently pat the scraps together and cut a final biscuit. (Or press the dough into a rectangle and cut square biscuits with a large knife.)
5. Arrange the biscuits on a sheet pan and chill for 15 minutes.
6. Brush the tops lightly with more buttermilk and bake until they are a rich brown, puffed, and no longer doughy in the center (you may need to break one open to verify), 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a rack until you’re tired of waiting, then split and spread with something buttery.
Beet, Smoked Salmon and Caper Cream Cheese
Cook the beet any way that’s convenient for you (steamed, boiled, roasted), but for the best flavor, salt the beet while cooking.
MAKES ABOUT 1 1/2 CUPS (300G)
8 ounces (225 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 small beet (red looks great, but any color will do), cooked until tender, peeled, and roughly chopped
2 ounces (55 g) hot-smoked salmon, skin and bones removed, in big flakes
2 tablespoons drained capers, roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (or in a bowl with a wooden spoon), mix the cream cheese for about 30 seconds until smooth. Add the beet and beat until the beet (say that three times fast!) is smashed into the cream cheese … get ready for some color! Add the flaked salmon and capers, season lightly with salt and pepper, and spin a few more times. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding a few drops of lemon juice if you like. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
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