Butter is not always the bad boy.
I wasn’t always a fan, especially when reports were out decades ago about how margarine was a much better-for-you substitute and my strictly vegetarian (and thin!) father had just had a heart attack. But as we know now, those ideas just aren’t true and a small amount, especially if grass-fed, could have not-so-harmful effects, if in small quantities and in moderation. Though a small amount of grass-fed butter has saturated fat, those fats are still necessary for your body. But it’s wise to use products with saturated fat with discretion. I don’t claim to be a dietitian, but you don’t have to be one to believe in “everything in moderation”.
I came across another article written about the author of the Blue Zones book and blog, Dan Buettner, who said the quantities of butter (and other animal fats) that are safe are unknown, so he prefers not to use it. It’s like radiation, he says, where a little bit a few times a week probably is OK, but we just don’t know how much. (P.S. you should check out Buettner’s books: I’m a huge fan of his work).
Well, this gal likes butter a little too much. And once in a while, I just need a little to jazz up my everyday favorites. I’m getting radiated as we speak, with my scrambled-in-butter eggs!
Speaking of healthy, we are always trying to re-invent ways to eat omega-3 fatty acid containing fish. Salmon is accessible, easy to grill, and flavorful, but sometimes could use a little oomph, especially if you eat it often like we try to. So I decided to create a compound butter, similar to one my mother-in-law makes, to accent summertime grilling dishes, but I increased its nutritional yield slightly by adding a bit of healing spice. The addition of chili (capsaicin), turmeric (curcumin), and fresh-pressed garlic (allicin) in juxtaposition with cold water fish=a tasteful dose of medicine on a plate.
I believe that food can be medicine, but not at the cost of flavor! Next to this main course, pile some greens and maybe a cooked bright tuber and you have a complete well-balanced and flavorful meal. For more of my culinary medicine posts or classes, subscribe to my blog here, or ask a question on Ask Shef!
- 1 corn-on-the-cob, shucked
- 6 whole peeled garlic cloves
- 1 dime-size piece of fresh turmeric (or use ½ teaspoon ground turmeric powder)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Indian chili powder
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Grill the corn on a dry cast-iron pan or on the barbecue grill until browned. Let cool.
- Meanwhile, place garlic cloves and turmeric in a mortar or heavy stainless steel mixing bowl.
- Add the salt.
- Break apart the cloves with your pestle and smash well to a paste. Add the chili powder. Mash further.
- Spoon in the butter and blend well.
- Scrape the roasted corn kernels and add them into the butter.
- Mix well, and add more salt to taste.
- Mold into a log if using for later. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. Or use at room temperature over grilled salmon.