A very sad thing happened recently here on Long Island. A seafood restaurant closed. This place offered an amazing lobster special – a 2 1/2 pound lobster (steamed or broiled), corn, cole slaw and fries, for the ridiculously low price of $15 and change. It wasn’t a fancy place, but it was new, and the food was cooked perfectly. Of course, the first time we ate there, I ordered the lobster. Steamed. It came with wedges of lemon and little cups of yellow liquid that I assumed were drawn butter.
I was wrong.
It wasn’t butter. Hell, it wasn’t even margarine. It was akin to that stuff they insist on pumping onto your $8 popcorn in the movie theater. To put that next to a perfectly cooked lobster should be illegal in all 50 states, but most especially on an ISLAND. The place opened and closed within 6 months, and I am convinced that the plastic butter substitute had a lot to do with it.
Butter is not a bad thing, folks. Unlike manufactured trans-fats, it’s loaded with good stuff, including vitamins, a natural liver cleanser and oleic acid – which is also found in olive oil, of which everyone is so enamored these days. But aside from the health factor, butter just TASTES good. And that’s what we’re all about here – how good it tastes.
Butter is one of the best flavor carriers for spices, vanilla and other fat soluble ingredients. When you sauté an onion in butter before adding the base ingredients, all the flavor from the onions will be carried by the butter into the dish. Butter can be used to provide the primary, characteristic flavor of a sauce, as in Bechamel-type sauces, or in dessert toppings, such as butterscotch. And what tastes better than an egg scrambled in butter? The answer to that would be NOTHING. Except maybe freshly cooked corn on the cob drowned in butter, or butter melted on waffles or pancakes. Mashed potatoes with butter drizzling down the sides. Toast with butter. A heated corn muffin with…BUTTER.
Butter pretty much makes everything taste better. And since nobody – except my weird nephew Harold – sits down and eats a stick of butter like it’s lunch, it’s not going to kill you. Human beings have been eating animal fats far longer than we’ve been abstaining from them, and despite the dire warnings from the chemically-induced fat-free food companies, the butter you eat does not make a beeline from your stomach to your arteries and cause a heart attack at the dinner table.
So, next time you order a lobster, tell the waitperson that if it doesn’t come with REAL butter, and lots of it, you’re leaving. And you’re taking all your friends with you. Because butter is your friend. And we must always support our friends.